Looking  for local businesses to get behind your cause?

It’s on my mind this Sunday morning, because my clients receive so many worthwhile requests and believe me, they would love to fund them ALL!

Wanted to share a few tips that may better your odds for success and also to let you know being declined doesn’t mean your program isn’t important to the business.


  • Ask the business if they have a donation policy.  Check their website or make a quick phone call.  Some support children’s programs one year, help tackle homelessness the next and others strictly support programs their employees are actively involved in.
  • If it’s consistent with their policy, put your request in writing and take the time to find out who the request should be addressed to.  Form letters will end up at the bottom of the pile.
  • Know the difference between a donation and a program grant request.
  • Be specific about what the donation will fund.  If you’re looking for help to subsidize a high school student trip to perform at Carnegie Hall, ask the business to sponsor one child and provide the cost breakdown.
  • Follow up with ONE phone call or visit if appropriate.


  • Rely solely on trolling the newspaper for leads.  While businesses who have sponsored other events represent active community partners, they are also businesses who are most likely at budget for the year.
  • Wait until the last minute.  Most businesses review requests once a month.  Larger requests are often considered one time a year during annual budgeting.
  • Visit a business during their peak hours to ask for help.  Visiting a restaurant at 12:10 is unlikely to result in a positive outcome.
  • Call over and over again.  This is one area where the squeaky wheel does not get the grease.
  • Take it personally if a business is tapped out for the year.  It doesn’t mean they don’t want to help.

Understand that most businesses do have a donation budget and their goal is to use it to provide the most impact in the community.  Also, know that most businesses receive hundreds of requests each month.

Most of all . . . remember, if you receive one donation from contacting ten businesses, that’s one more donation than you had yesterday.  Celebrate it and keep pounding the pavement with enthusiasm.

Happy Fundraising!