Tips and examples for a donation request letter.

When making a request to a retailer or other business for a small donation, you don't need an extensive donation letter or to fill out a long application. If you are simply asking for a donation for a charity event, such as an auction or supplies for your organization, then short and sweet is best. You want to write a letter that clearly and concisely states what your organization does, what item you need, and how that item will be put to good use.

 Letter asking for donationsCredit: Flickr: RikkisRefugeOther

How to Write a Letter Asking for Donations: The Main Letter Points

  • First Paragraph: Give your nonprofit organization's mission and an specific example or two of how your organization has helped the community in the past.
  • Second Paragraph: Ask for a specific item. Don't leave it opened ended. If you want and item for an auction, state that. If you need cleaning supplies, state that. If you would like the business to attend the event, ask that. Include your nonprofit tax ID number and state that all donations are tax deductible.
  • Third Paragraph: Lastly, explain exactly how this item will be put to use. For example, if asking for an auction item, say the money raise will be put to use to…(fill in the blank). If asking for cleaning supplies, state how these are used every day to...(fill in the blank).
  • Last Sentence: Before signing off, state when you need the requested item by and say when you will call or email to check on the status. Businesses get dozens, and some hundreds, of donation requests every year. If you don't take the initiative to follow up, you may never hear from the business. Do make this last line sound professional and friendly however with a simple, “We will need the auction item by X date. I can call or email you again on X date to find out if there is any other information you need from me.”
  • Salutation: Sign off professionally with a thank you. For example you can say “Thank you in advance for your consideration.” Under your name, do include all your contact information including email, phone number, and address.
  • Enclosures: Do include a brochure and business card with the Letter asking for donations. You also want to make sure the business has your website address. Business will want to check out any organizations they are not familiar with before making a donation.


Some other tips for asking for donations for your nonprofit organization:

Most larger businesses have a set amount budgeted each year for donations. Once the business has reached its donation limit, no more donations will be made that year. For the best results, send your letter asking for donations at the beginning of the business' fiscal year, which usually starts January 1st or July 1st. Smaller businesses will often make small donations year round, but will be more interested in local nonprofits that have a mission important to the owner of that business. Localy owned businesses also tend to support local organizations.