Create an Effective Procurement Letter and Donation Request Tactics

Published on 1 Feb 2016 by Auctria

Create an Effective Procurement Letter and Donation Request Tactics

Charity auction catalogs are filled with items that are donated from businesses, retailers and service providers that said “yes, we will donate and support your cause”. That yes starts with an ask. The ask starts with a good procurement letter.

Local vs. Corporate Requests

Fundraising and procurement letters generally fall into two separate categories: individual and corporate appeals. Procurement success depends upon asking the right people, the right way at the right time.

Local requests will be more of a knock on the door, face-to-face approach. The procurement team within the auction team has a folder full of donation letters and requests a donation directly. Typically you will start with those retailers or vendors that they use on a regular basis. These potential donors are more likely to donate because you are a regular customer already. They should want to help out charity that their current customers care about.

Corporate requests will be more formal in nature. This is typical for chains, regional and national businesses. Although the audience is different, corporate donation letters are structured similarly to local appeals, they just go through a more formal process. This usually adds to the lead time needed so start early with these appeals.

With this article you will be able to:

  1. Write a great procurement letter in under 10 minutes
  2. Know who and when to ask for charity auction donations
  3. Effectively respond to the NOs
  4. Understand when to say no thank you

1. Write a good Procurement Letter in under 10 minutes

Writing an effective procurement letter is sweet and to the point. Procurement letters are sent out when you need items or services and not direct monetary contributions, as in when you’re looking for fundraising event auction items. These letters are most often written to local businesses, but on occasion, they’ll need to be sent to individual potential donor prospects.

Be friendly and state the Purpose. A procurement letter to “help the cause” such as enrich the students, fight the disease, feed the hungry, save the animals. Using action terminology makes the donor feel like part of the solution by simply donating goods or services. Besides helping the cause generate funds do they get their business name in an Auction Catalog? Online or click through?

Be specific about what donations you are seeking. What types of donations are you asking for? Gift certificates, baskets of goods, products, special experiences, VIP access, tickets. Essentially you want anything that has a resale value.

Be specific about timing. Donation cut-off date is vital to insure donated items come in with lead time to then be marketed. Calculate when you want to go public with the charity auction and work backward to find a date that gives you and the team plenty of time to get organized.

Include Key Information. Email and website information are great but adding a real donor’s name and phone number promotes a more personal touch to the procurement letter request.

  • Name of fundraising group
  • Contact name(s), provide links to online website for further information
  • Tax status and ID and relevant numbers are key factors used by a donor in deciding to honor the request

Call to Action. Ask for donations within a timeframe. Don’t be wishy washy! Be specific in the date or time that you are requesting donation for.

Use these letters as an example to get you started on your own procurement letter: Sample Procurement donation letter templates, one for a school, one for general charity use.



2. Know who and when to ask for donations

Ask everyone! You never know who will say yes. If they say no, ask them if they know of anyone that might donate. Ask any vendors that you work with and ask them to ask their vendors. Comply with the requested communication request format from the business. If they only want emails, send an email. If they have an online form use the form. If they want you to come back and ask the manager then put it in your calendar and go back at the suggested time.

Remember to pick up donations when they are ready! Don’t wait. Delayed pick up means lost donations. Don’t let that happen to you.

Fundraising for a school? Ask parents, volunteers & teachers. They may work at an office, have spouses that have unique access. Vendors that service the school should be able to provide something, think of all the services that come in and out daily

Fundraising for animal welfare? Volunteers help from the bottom of their heart. They usually have their own animals and make purchases at animal friendly establishments. Ask the volunteers to help with donation requests.

Fundraising for arts and culture? Look around and observe what businesses are nearby that benefit from your establishment. Restaurants and shops that gain foot traffic because of your organization are prime targets to ask for donations.

Fundraising for health, welfare or disease fighting? Define the audience that is participating in your charity auction event and share that information with potential donors. Supporters like to return the favor and patronize businesses that donate to a like cause.

Getting that first yes makes you feel great! Use that momentum to continue asking. Tell potential donors what other donors have already committed to.

Ask for donations while you are spending money at a business. It is hard for a supermarket to say no to a patron while you are there with a cart full of paid for groceries. It is easy for a restaurant manager to say yes to a table full of diners, especially the regulars.

3. Effectively respond to the NOs

Sometimes businesses will just say no, and that’s ok. If possible try to find out why it’s a no. Sometimes it’s a maybe, sometimes it’s a maybe later. Ask a few more questions to understand so you can make better use of your time and their time as well.

Is the reason because the decision maker is elsewhere? When can you reach the decision maker, or how can you reach the decision maker?

Is the reason based on timing? If so, how can you plan differently for next time?

Is the reason based on the type of charity? If so, maybe you have friends that are better aligned and that toip may help them for their fundraising.

Is the reason based on the availability of donations? Is there something else like a cash donation that can help you fundraise?

4. Understand when to say no thank you

Don’t clutter the auction catalog. Say no to coupons, house party requirements; and anything that you feel like a sales promotion. You may bump into solicitors that contact you like timeshare sales people or MLMs. It’s ok for you to say no as well.

Is a Sponsorship Better?

Sometimes a simple donation isn’t a good fit. Sponsorship may be better. Think: asking a realtor to donate. They can’t donate a whole home! However they can make a monetary donation or sponsorship. Depending on how much they are willing to donate a sponsorship may be more in line with how they want to support the cause. You can use their donation to purchase a product that will then be raffled multiplying the gift.

Maybe they want to make a larger donation or create a matching donation. In this case they will match (up to a given dollar amount) the funds that you raise. This gives the donor a lot of clout and exposure to your entire audience of supporters

Solicit for Donations on Your Event Website

Auctria streamlines the entire auction process from the first donation to the last receipt. Utilize Auctria’s Solicit Donation element to set up a form on your event website. Businesses and individuals can fill out the form online and provide donation details to you. Simply review the submission. Then, you can even send a donation receipt to close the communication loop.