For years, when I was a charity volunteer a very long time ago, I use to ask every single business in my area and then even ones outside my area to donate to our event. Of course I had great reasons why they should and had my donation request letter in hand. I hit up everybody, no matter the business had, I asked them. I sat tirelessly writing letters, licking envelopes sending donation request letters across the U.S. And of course, I got used to hearing “No.” I would get angry when they wouldn’t donate and didn’t understand why.
But as I became educated about donations – both financial and items, I began to realize what the reality of it all is. I also learned just how many Charities are out there and then to add to it, how many people have their hand out looking for donations. Then add in all the Benefit events occurring, then it all became clear why businesses either donated or did not.
First, let me give you some perspective on the charity world. Currently in the United States, there are 104 Million Charities or registered U.S. Non Profits. The United States has been in a recession for many years which have pushed many businesses into financial ruin. Business owners are fighting to stay afloat.
When we approach a business and ask for a donation, they immediately will determine if it is beneficial to their businesses. They first ask themselves these questions:
1 – Do I know the organization?
2 – Do I support the organization?
3 – Do I know the people who are involved?
4 – How many people will be attending the charity event?
5 – Will my name get out there?
6 – Will it pay off to donate?
7 – Can I afford it?
Commonly, businesses will donate items which answer “Yes” to question #7, which commonly is an item which they can afford to part with. However, on the charity side, this is not a good thing because the item that the business donated is not high quality and routinely, it is something which has sat on a shelf not selling at retail.
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The next important fact is that many charity event guests are other charity organizers. They attend other charity events to show their support but to also check out the competition. I have seen this time and time again. Furthermore, they note who the donors were and approach them later for their charity event. But what does this do? The charity attending has the same exact “stuff” as the original charity which drives down the bid price because the items are not unique.
The most important factor to note: Remember, the items donated by a business to your event took hard earned money. What I mean by this is, the business owner had to pay for the items which they are giving you. They normally donate items both to help but to also get their name out there, hoping that it will bring people into their establishments. Basically, they want to be marketed.
For instance, you will often see “Tastifully Simple”, “Avon”, “Pampered Chef” gift baskets in Silent Auctions. The representatives of these companies donate the baskets (along with a stack of business cards) hoping to get more sales or “Parties” from the event. Does this happen? Rarely. Remember, businesses want something from the donation – give that to them. Highlight their names and address in your printed programs, announce their names during your event…encourage your guests to seek them out.
The Negative side to donations: Across the U.S., donated items are only bringing 1/8th to 1/4 of retail in any Silent or Live Auction. Let’s say a business donated an item that retails for $100.00. At most it is bringing $25.00. Understanding the Charity does not mind it because it’s $25.00 in their pockets, however, after your event the donors commonly ask what the selling price was for their donation. What will you do when the item only sells for pennies on the dollar?
There are 100% effective ways to utilize donations that will bring 4 to 5 times the retail price while also ensuring that your donors are extremely happy that they donated. If you would like help with your next charity fundraising event, contact us at www.BWUnlimited.com.
Or to join “Team BWU” and become a Charity Fundraising Representative, contact us at Reps@bwunlimited.com.