Have you noticed that often the way to find out whether or not a company donates to nonprofits is to visit or call them?
At TheShareWay, we have spent the last two years cataloging over 400 companies that donate to nonprofits. We learned a few things about how to find companies that donate raffle items, food, beverages, and venue:
Look for existing events' lists of sponsors. For example, if you need to find beer for an upcoming event, try googling "beer festivals" or "beer sponsors at film festivals." You can swap out film festivals for events that you think might have beer sponsors.
Sign-up for a free trial at TheShareWay. Using our listing, you can filter based on products (e.g. dessert vs venue), location, and cause alignment to find the right companies that donate.
Small business owners are NOT getting flooded with requests. They are actually waiting for you to knock on their doors. One of our partner food sponsors is a small business owner who sells her products in Whole Foods and Sam's Club. She understands that donating to fundraisers is a great marketing opportunity; however, she lacks the time needed to source events, which means the onus is on nonprofits to do the leg work. If you find these businesses and make a compelling pitch, you have a high chance of getting sponsored!
Don't forget online businesses! There are so many subscription services that you can sign up for these days. In fact, many businesses exist solely online. For instance, you can get groceries, clothes, spices, snacks, and much more delivered directly to your door. Many of these companies sponsor too and ship it to you: Birchbox, Raw Spice Bar, to name a couple. Maybe some of these companies could be your nonprofit's next sponsor!
Google “San Francisco donation request form” and see what you find. Of course your search depends on your location, so be sure to swap out San Francisco for the location of your nonprofit if you're located elsewhere.
You can also tailor the search based on the item you're looking for. For example, google “restaurant donation request”. Swap out restaurant for the item you're looking for: tickets, coffee, tea, pizza, etc. See what we found when we googled Beauty Products donation request applications. You can also add in the city for a more strategic approach (NYC restaurant donation requests).
Visit the stores on your block and ask if they donate to nonprofits. A lot of companies do not publicly list that they provide sponsorship and support, but many actually do. According to National Restaurant Association, 94% of all restaurants today make charitable contributions, primarily within the communities they serve.
Always be on the lookout. Since I am in the business of cataloging companies that donate, I always keep my eyes open for opportunities. For instance, when I'm at Whole Foods, I'll spend five more minutes going down an aisle snapping photos of interesting food brands or writing down companies in my Evernote.
When I'm out with friends, I snap photos of cupcake and coffee shops I pass by. If time allows, I even go in and ask them if they donate to nonprofit events. When you can, ask for contact info. Personal email addresses are often not listed on company websites. A good way to keep track throughout the year is an Excel sheet with the following columns: company, fit, contact name, and email address. When your event comes around, you can prioritize by the highest fit and start contacting.
Try out these tips. They'll keep your list of donors full and diverse. And, once you've got your list, see our tips on how to increase your success rate on securing in-kind donations. Donorbox has also shared great tips on how to actually get the donations.