Whether you are having a golf outing, a fashion show, a Bingo night or any other event, there are many ways to get donations for your fundraiser. Getting donations for your fundraiser is free cash for the organization, as there is no financial cost in getting the donations.

Organize Your Committee

To be effective in obtaining donations for your fundraiser, your committee must be organized. A lack of organization will cause your committee members to work harder than they need to.

At your first committee meeting, you will need to assign a person to be responsible for the spreadsheet. This person will be the one who gets the email or phone call from the committee members when they have the donations in hand.

The spreadsheet should contain the following:

  • Name of the person who got the donation
  • Name of the place where donation is from
  • Contact person from the business and her address, phone number and/or email
  • What the donation is
  • The value of the donated item

This spreadsheet is invaluable. If you have the same fundraiser the following year, you can just return to your contact list and start again.


You will also need to give each person on the committee twenty-five copies of your organization's intention letter. This letter, done on your organization's letterhead, will contain all of the necessary information businesses need in order to give donations for your fundraiser.

The formal letter should include:

  • Who is holding the event
  • Date and place of event
  • Why you are hosting the event
  • Types of donations you are asking for
  • Your Tax ID Number (offer to give a copy of the tax exempt certificate if necessary)
  • Contact information-phone numbers and emails
  • Place to mail donations-should be one of the committee chairs

All members of the fundraising committee should have everyone else's phone numbers and email addresses. Make sure you let everyone know when a good time or bad time to call is. Email is a great way to communicate and keeps everyone in the loop.

Brainstorm with the committee members where to get donations. List local strip malls and other area businesses and assign members to solicit them. If people are uncomfortable with this, have them go in teams. Make sure someone at the meeting is writing this information down and sends and email to everyone on the committee.

Doing this serves three purposes:

1. It keeps everyone on the committee accountable for getting donations for the fundraiser.

2. Having assignments on paper can cause them to get lost in the great paper piles that inhabit everyone's home. Emails cannot get lost if the address is correct and can always be resent if deleted.

3. No one doubles up on another volunteer's territory. How embarrassing for the committee to have two or three different people ask the same vendor for a donation for the fundraiser! It will appear that you are unorganized, and that is not a good business investment.

You will also need to assign places to send emails and snail mails to augment donations that you solicit locally.

Use Your Contacts

When you are looking for items for silent auctions and raffle baskets for your fundraisers, your committee needs to talk about the connections they have in the community.

Do you have family or friends who:

  • Own any kind of retail business
  • Have a direct sales business
  • Own a restaurant
  • Work in a retail store and can get the boss to donate
  • Are a regular at a hair salon, nail salon, gym, retail store
  • Have a lot of business meetings at a certain restaurant or hotel and can use their leverage to get a donation
  • Work for a large company who may have corporate tickets to a team and are willing to donate them

These resources should be the first you hit when trying to get donations for your fundraiser. Then you can fill out around the edges with the local businesses. Don't be embarrassed to ask for favors; most people are more than willing to help. They cannot help you if you do not ask.

Now that you are organized, it is time to get the donations for your event. In part two, I will tell you where to get your donations and how to go about it.