Many nonprofit organizations depend on generous donations from private citizens and businesses to continue their good works. However, not all of the contributions that keep these organizations running are just plain cash. A large portion of these donations are “in-kind” donations, meaning that instead of giving money, either goods or services are donated.
Some examples of “in-kind” donations are clothing, office supplies, housewares, printing services, food, cell phones, snow plows, old vehicles, shares of stock, etc. If you need it, chances are someone is willing to donate it. All you have to do is ask. But how do you go about that?
First off, post a public wish list. Either make it available on your website, or at your office, or both. That way, individuals and companies know exactly what you need and can find a way to get it to you. Make sure you provide a contact person or drop off location. On this wish list, mention the benefits to the donors, such as possible tax write-offs, free advertising, and a strong sense of goodwill.
Have a big event coming up? Send out personalized donation request letters. It never hurts to ask. A few months prior to your event, send letters to grocery stores, restaurants, hardware stores, previous donors, local investors that are philanthropically minded, etc. Introduce your organization and what you do, give them some examples about what in-kind contributions they can make, explain the benefits of their donation to your cause and to themselves, thank them in advance, and provide contact information for whomever will be accepting donations. It’s as simple as that.
In order to encourage future in-kind donations, always provide your donors with a receipt for the value of their contribution and a thank you. Knowing that their donation is appreciated and valued can lead to recurring donations to your nonprofit organization in the future.