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Handling Donation Requests in 5 Easy Steps

Corporate giving is a rewarding experience for both your business and the non-profits you support. At HeartPress, we see many companies provide opportunities for charities to request donations, whether that be in-kind, financial, volunteer or pro-bono services. Unfortunately, these same companies often receive an overwhelming number of monthly donation requests.

Sound familiar? As much as you want to support the wonderful causes that are reaching out, it’s not always possible. Luckily, we have compiled a list of the best practices to ensure you’re able to experience the joy of giving. 

Top Tips to Handle Donation Requests

Get clear in your giving strategy

For a business’ giving strategy, it doesn’t make sense to say yes to every donation request. Instead, focus your giving on specific causes that align with your business’ values. Are you a business that works in the downtown core, and sees the issues of mental illness and homelessness firsthand? Then supporting charities who tackle these specific issues makes sense. Or, do you work in the food industry? Then perhaps supporting charities that tackle the issue of food security and sustainability is the most logical choice for you. Get specific with this. By defining what you want to support, you filter out many organizations that aren’t a good match. Also, avoid disappointment by clearly outlining criteria to all potential requesters.  

Another way to strategize is by engaging your employees. Ask them what causes they are passionate about. Next, consider how your business can support them in their desire to give. A 2017 study from Volunteer Canada finds that 68% of Canadian employees choose to work for companies with a stronger volunteer culture over one that does not. Therefore, involving your employees in giving decisions has a numerous amount of benefits. Not only will this affect their personal well-being, but also the well-being of your company and your surrounding community. 

For a business, it doesn’t make sense to say “yes” to every donation request.

Set a budget

Charitable giving extends beyond financial donations, and so should your budget. When determining how much you have available to give, remember to consider other sources of philanthropy. Do you have in-kind donations that could be useful at a charitable auction? What about the valuable labor of your employees? Donating a service where you have expertise is a great way to provide support. 

When it comes to determining a financial budget, decide on a set amount to give either monthly or annually. Additionally, donating to sponsorship events where your company’s name is clearly displayed is just as much a marketing opportunity as it is an opportunity to do good. Therefore, consider that the money you budget for charitable giving can overlap with your marketing budget.

Provide a counter-offer

Despite having a strong handle on your giving strategy, you may still receive requests that don’t match the resources you have to give. Just because you can’t provide a $5,000 sponsorship donation for an event doesn’t mean you can’t provide value in another way. Consider offering non-profits what you do have – whether it be the labor power of your employee volunteers or products and services for their event. Or, propose a financial amount that you are comfortable giving. Even if you can’t contribute the full $5,000, giving any amount can still makes a big difference.

Invite them to reach out again

Unfortunately, sometimes you just have to say no. If this is the case, thank the charity for reaching out but give them a clear reason why you’re declining their request. Perhaps you simply don’t have the time, money or resources. That’s completely acceptable! Fall back on your giving strategy to provide good reason why you’re declining. 

Also, don’t close the door completely, especially if this is a charity you may want to work with in the future. Encourage them to reach out again when your budget or time constraints are more forgiving. 

Use a system

It can be challenging when you receive year-round donation requests via phone, mail and email. Streamline your decision-making process by using a system that captures all the information you need in one place. 

There are many ways to do this. One suggestion we have is to create an online donation request form on your website. This will prompt the requesting organization to submit all the information you need to make a sound decision. Furthermore, it’s easier to review and manage requests because they come through just one medium. Make sure to let the requesting organizations know what they should expect from you, such as how far in advance they need to apply, and how long they should expect before hearing back from you. 

After reading all our tips, you may still be overwhelmed with the amount of donation requests you’re receiving. 

HeartPress can help!

By signing up for our marketplace #BrokersOfGood, all of your donation requests will exist in one place. You can browse through vetted information about the requesting charity, and then accept or reject their request with just one click. We’ll take care of the rest! HeartPress takes the stress out of managing donation requests, so contact us to sign up for #BrokersOfGood today.

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