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Not the Usual Donors

by Doug Nash

One the major hurdles a non-profit faces is acquiring donations to help ensure the profitability of an event. The more donations you can get, the more profitable the event as the costs are kept to a minimum. However asking for donations is one of the toughest tasks to perform. Here are a few ideas for you to consider when approaching your next donation drive.

Local businesses are the ones that take the brunt of non-profits. They are the first thought of by non-profits for obvious reasons. However if there are a few non-profits in an area, like schools then the competition between them can become very tight. Local businesses can only give so much so the end result is that someone must miss out or the donations to a particular organisation is minimal. Bottom line to this factor is to cast your net over a wider field of possible donors.

When you have decided which project or projects you will undertake, hold a brainstorming session to think of possible donors that are not local yet could supply you with the items you desire. Consider suppliers instead of the local businesses themselves, they will appreciated not be asked for the donation and will probably be very helpful in providing a list of suppliers. So ask local businesses who supplies them and then approach the supplier.

In one instance a fund-raiser looking to sell bathsalts at a school fete approached a local health store to find out who supplied them with their salts, this lead to the supplier. Instead of having a donation of maybe a few kilos the fund-raiser ended up with a donation of a hundred kilos of salts.

Just because a possible donor is not located in your area does not automatically discount them from helping your organisation. There are many large, national and international companies that will consider helping you as they can have a company policy to help out non-profits wherever possible.

So where can you get leads or names to follow? There are a few ways. The first is your business telephone directory (yellow pages). This may involve a bit of time finding the appropriate page and then phoning a list of companies but it can reap rich rewards.

Secondly as previously mentioned approach local companies for names of their suppliers of products that you are interested in, then approach the suppliers directly. A referral by a local company can be a wonderful advantage to you when cold calling like this. The supplier may help you simply to look good to the company that referred you.

Lastly keep you eyes open when either walking through a shopping centre or while driving around. Take a drive through an industrial park and see what companies are located there, this is similar to searching the yellow pages. By doing this you may find a company you did not know was there but you can find a way to use their product in a fund-raiser.

A wonderful example of imagination helping a fund-raiser is the story of a New Zealand non-profit including vasectomies in their auction. Now not only was this unusual, it tapped into a business that would not receive too many requests for donations so improved their chances of a yes response. Also it added humor and surprise to their auction. This factor would also ensure that they gained a lot of recognition as it would have been quite a talking point for a long time.

With a little imagination, detective work and a desire to succeed you can find and acquire new donations to your organisation. By finding new donors, you increase the chances of them helping you improve the success of your next fund-raiser.

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About the Author:

Doug Nash lives in Logan City in Queensland, Australia. He has graciously consented to share a fundraising idea with us every month. Although many of the ideas aren't new, each of them has a unique flair that comes from being developed and refined half a world away from ours. Visit his web site at for more fundraising ideas.

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