Whether you are a paid staff, board member or volunteer, you are often tasked with securing donations for events - both cash and in-kind donations. What is an in-kind donation? Gifts in kind, as defined by the Canadian Revenue Agency are gifts of property. In regular people terms, it's a kind of charitable giving in which people (or businesses) donate goods and services instead of giving cash.
As event professionals we strive to keep expenses low for a greater net take home for our clients - one way we do this is through in-kind donations and sponsorships. In other words, we don't like to spend money. Here are a few tips to get you and your volunteers on your way to securing more in-kind donations and sponsorships:
1. What do you need? For your event this could consist of silent auction items and prizes, food, decor, entertainment, audio visual, etc. So, make a list and be specific. Heck, it could be EVERYTHING you need. Obviously there are expenses you can't avoid, but why not try? Like the saying goes, it never hurts to ask - heck, we're in the business. We know asking is intimidating - but, sometimes it is easier to ask for an in-kind donation rather than cash, right? Break your list down into catagories. Silent Auction, Live Auction, Prizes, Venue, etc.
2. Sit down with your committee. And board members and other volunteers. Show them the list of what is needed. Do a webbing exercise. (whats that? - Click here - its basically an exercise to get your volunteers thinking about who they might know and who they could ask. There are many different webbing exercises out there... this is just a basic one - contact us if you want more information on conducting a more indepth webbing exercise!)
3. Do research. Look into your donor database. Who has given in-kind in the past, who is on your prospect list for a larger gift - could you get them in the door with an in-kind donation?
4. Assign solicitors - and prepare them! Based on your research and the information learned on the webbing exercise, decide who would be the best person to contact the certain organization for the specific donation you are asking for. And make sure they are prepared. Equip your volunteers with information on your cause, the event and where the money is going. They need to be confident in why they are asking - otherwise, they won't appear to be and will not get the donation.
5. Be timely on your thank yous. Thank the donor before, during and after the event. And if one of these donors is on your prospect list for a larger gift, keep engaging them throughout the year. Make the effort and they will keep coming back to reep the benefits. They will feel appreciated and proud they are supporting a charity of their choice. Its all about how you recognize them and make them feel - if you don't do a good job at that, you'll lose them.
Yes - it all seems simple enough. But sometimes, we just need a little reminder. Stay tuned for our next post on recognizing event sponsors.
Sponsorship and Fundraising Specialist, Our Forté Events