How to Ask for In-Kind Donations

 Photo by  Brannon Naito

Photo by Brannon Naito

An in-kind donation is when a business or individual gives a product or service to your cause for free. Knowing how to ask for an in-kind donation is key if you're looking to diversify and expand your fundraising efforts. 


Identifying Needs and Donors

Before reaching out to supporters, the first step is to identify what kind of items are needed to further your cause.

Start by making a list of products and services used by your staff, volunteers and participants to organize upcoming events or campaigns. This list can include anything from photography and food services, to gift cards and clothing. Rate the necessity of each item on your list, and start thinking of who you can target to solicit these donations.


Making the ‘Ask’

Ensuring that your networks are well-established before starting the donation process is critical to your success.

Think about it. It's hard to convince anyone to donate if they have never heard of you or your organization. As much as donors want to do good, they also want to make sure they are giving to a trustworthy and reputable cause. That's why when asking for in-kind donations make sure you create a personalized pitch with a clear call-to-action:

  • Highlight the benefits and marketing potential of contributing to your cause

  • Show the impact of donors' intended donations

  • Outline what you need from donors to start the in-kind process


Accurate Reporting

Tracking in-kind donations, which is often required for grant applications, will help you to develop an inventory of 'who' donated 'what'.

While making the asking-rounds, make sure you record all the donors you have contacted, the number of successfully donated items, and the estimated face value of goods and services. By accurately reporting donations, it will be easier for you to measure your success, and thank your supporters.


Recognize Your Donors

Always provide exposure for in-kind donors. Highlight their contributions on your blog and social media, thank them personally on your website, or invite them to donor appreciation events. Make sure your supporters know, that through their generosity, they are creating a win-win situation for you and their brand.

In addition to thanking and acknowledging donors, always follow up to show the impact of in-kind donations. Provide donors with regular updates on your initiative, and show how their product or service enhanced your cause. This will ensure that your donors continue to stay informed and in touch with your organization.