It’s not even September yet, and the requests for donations are already pouring in.
Can you donate to this school? This athletic team? This fundraiser? This auction? This charity?
Don’t get me wrong. I am happy to make donations. I adhere to the quote, ““To those whom much is given, much is expected.”
I am thankful to have a successful business and believe in giving back to my community.
It’s just like most small business owners, I only have so much to give and I hate saying no when I cannot make a donation.
So what’s a small business owner to do when every time I turn around, I have another request for a donation.
I begin by asking myself a list of questions:
- Is this an organization I would support?
- Does the nonprofit have a good reputation for using donations for its cause? How much goes to support salaries and expenses versus doing the actual work?
- Why is the donation needed? How will it benefit my community?
- Is it a local organization?
- Who is the person doing the asking? Are they are customer?
It’s hard to say no when someone asks. Reasons I may give for saying no are:
- I only donate to local nonprofits or nonprofits I know benefit my community.
- I have a formal request form and like to have all donations made in a month of when it’s needed.
- I have a set limit on how much I donate each month and I have reached my monthly limit. I encourage you to try again next year and ask me sooner.
I also have made a game plan for how to handle donations. Here’s what I suggest for other small businesses to do:
- Make a budget. Whether it’s for a year or for a month, know exactly how much you can afford to donate. Know which donations are tax-deductible and which ones aren’t.
- Have a list. Make a list of $10 to $100 donations. That way when someone asks you for a $25 donation, you know exactly what you can give.
- Formal request sheets. Kindly ask everyone to submit a formal donation request. Here’s an idea of what to have on the donation request form: Type of event; When would you need the donation by; Tax identification number; Who is the contact person and phone number; When is the event; Name of organization
- Know who I want to make donations to. Let’s pretend you are a Beaver fan and you are asked to donate to the Oregon Alumni Association. It’s OK to kindly say you already donate to the Oregon State Alumni Association. There will be organizations you will want to donate to and those you won’t want to donate to. For those you don’t want to make a contribution, it’s important to say no in a kind way because you still want them to support your business.
- Set a policy for employees asking for donations. I have worked in offices where it seems you several times a week for a donation or to buy something to support a colleague’s kid’s cause. I suggest setting a policy where employees cannot go from desk-to-desk asking for contributions. Instead, set aside a place in the break room where employees can post a notice or put what they are selling with a donation jar.
Making a donation is a good way to give back to your community as well as prompt your business. When you have to say no, thank the person for considering your business. If you can’t make a donation, ask if you can go to the event.
There is a quote that reads, “What you give is what you get back.”
I believe whatever good I do is returned in countless ways. Here’s hoping this helps you when it comes to making donations.