How to Ask for Corporate Donations

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Even during tough economic times, most companies budget funding for charity donations. Charitable donations serve two purposes from a corporate perspective. They make employees proud to work for the company, and they place the company in a favorable light in the local community and in the national spotlight. Their budgets are not limitless, however, and companies can be selective. How you handle yourself when asking for a corporate donation is key---and can mean the difference between a generous contribution or nothing at all.

Things You'll Need

  • Phone
  • Word processing software
  • Letterhead stationery
  • Pen
  • Suit

How to Ask for a Corporate Donation

  • Call the company and ask to whom a corporate donation letter should be addressed. Getting a name will help advance all your efforts.

  • Write a formal donation request letter. In this letter, introduce your organization and outline what it does, its accomplishments and what it needs. In closing, ask for the donation outright and thank the reader for his or her attention.

  • If possible, go to the corporate offices and present your letter in person. Be professional, look polished and be knowledgeable about your organization, its needs and its goals. See if you can schedule an appointment to speak with the community outreach manager. Leave some brochures and information about your organization for review.

  • Ask for a donation early in the year. This is especially good time for larger corporations that handle requests on a first-come, first-served basis and need time to process requests and any subsequent applications or paperwork.

  • If you were able to have a face-to-face meeting, send the manager a thank you note immediately after returning to your office.
    In general, always thank a person or corporation for their time and donation. Follow this advice even if the company is unable to make a donation. Your politeness will leave a favorable impression, and may open doors down the road for future donations.

Tips & Warnings

  • In lieu of cash, suggest donations such as out-of-season items, clearance or overstock, whose full market value can be deducted from corporate taxes. If you are requesting a donation of equipment and supplies, be sure to inform companies that donations without a direct market value can be deducted from corporate taxes in the form of material or equipment depreciation costs.
  • Never make promises that your organization cannot honor.

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