I’ve raised thousands of pounds for charity through my adventures and now I want to help you! One of the suggestions on my list of easy fundraising ideas for small groups was to put on a raffle. I’m known amongst friends as a pro in getting free things. It’s something I developed when I worked in the charity sector and had to source thousands of items donated for large-scale events. When I transferred those skills to looking for raffle prizes I found that I had a bit of a knack for it! Wondering how to find companies willing to donate raffle prizes? Here are my top tips….

#1 Have a goal or focus

Write down how many prizes you are aiming for and if you are looking for anything in particular. I usually aim to try to get a couple of bigger prizes and then a handful of smaller prizes to mix things up. The big prizes are your main draw but having lots of options increases someone’s chances of winning which is also attractive.

#2 Write a convincing letter

When approaching companies willing to donate raffle prizes, you need to bear in mind that they may get a lot of requests. They are more likely to support you if they like you and your cause. Make the letter as personal as you can. If you have a story or connection to the charity then tell it. I try to keep it short as people are too busy to read huge amounts of text.

Also, make it clear in your subject line why you are approaching them but in an interesting way. Here’s how I might structure a letter:

Subject: Can you help build a classroom?

Dear {first name is you have it}

On {date} I am organising {put the details of the event you are putting together}. I’m doing this to raise money for {charity}.

I chose this charity because {insert your connection or motive for fundraising….remember to keep it personal}

{Charity name} works to support {animals/children/environment}. Each year they {put examples of what they achieve or specifics in terms of reach}. I’m hoping to raise {target amount} which will pay for {what is your money going towards},

I’m writing to ask if {company name} might be willing to donate a prize that we can raffle/auction at the event. We think this would be a great prize because {find a reason that it would be a great fit, such as it is a local supplier and most people attending the event are from the area}. Your generous donation will be supporting a great cause and you will be thanked on the night {and in any other way that might be of relevance – in a program, on the event website}.

Please find attached a letter of support from {charity name}.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

{include phone number}

#3 Get a letter of support from the charity

Contact your chosen charity and ask them to send you something on letterhead that says they support what you are doing. It is good practice to include this as a PDF in any email you send out (make sure it includes the charity number). It looks professional and will reassure any doubts they may have about you being genuine.

#4 Make a HUGE list of companies willing to donate raffle prizes

I really have done the hard work for you here!! I put together a list of raffle prizes: raffle prize ideas 2019. This includes companies willing to donate prizes and ideas for other companies in your area you might want to contact.

#5 Direct your request to a specific person

When approaching a company for a raffle prize it is generally best to direct your message to a specific person. Ideally, this would be the owner of the company. Sometimes it is easy to see who this is as their name and contact information is clearly displayed on the contact us page. If the details are there then include them on your spreadsheet so you can send a personalised message.

If not though, don’t waste loads of time searching this out. In most cases, the message will be forwarded to the right person.

Companies willing to donate raffle prizes

#6 Start contacting people on your list

You should now have an epic list of people to contact. The bigger the list and the most amount of time you spend on this, the easier it will be when it comes to sending out your ask. Obviously, the more emails you send, the more successes you are likely to have.

Although letters are great, I usually just stick to sending an email. I’ve had a good enough response from email alone previously. The only exception would be if I print a letter which I would then hand deliver to a manager in a supermarket or to shops if I am out in town for the day…..in some places, this is the only way to reach the manager (especially with branches of chains who usually have an individual say on charity allocation budgets).

#7 Follow up a week later

This step is so so important! I’ve had more successes from follow up emails then I have with first emails.

A week after I send my first email I send a follow up if I haven’t heard back. This is where it’s important to keep your spreadsheet organised so you can keep track of rejections and emails so you don’t get confused.

It’s harder to ignore the second email as it feels like someone is sat waiting for your response 🙂

ALSO RELEVANT: Tips for organsing a fundraising event

#8 GET. OVER. IT!!

I bet you’re feeling nervous about asking for prizes?

There is no space for nerves or worries when it comes for asking for prizes as you need to use all your time and energy going at this guns blazing. Think about it – the more effective and confident you are at asking, the better your success rate.

This is a really great YouTube video worth watching that will give you some great tips so you are asking for donations in the most effective way:

A book that really changed my life when it came to fundraising is The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer. Such a great book! It taught me to approach people and companies effectively and how to get over my nerves of asking.

#8 Thank successes

If someone emails to say they are happy to donate a prize get back to them straight away. Say a huge thank you and ask if they can send the prize out straight away. It’s good to get it early on in case someone changes jobs! If it is for a service you could offer to put together a PDF or envelope with the details for the winner if they don’t have a voucher to give already.

Once the raffle is finished always follow up companies willing to donate raffle prizes with a final thank you saying how much you raised. You never know when you might need to ask them for a raffle prize again!

Companies to donate raffle prizes

Hopefully, now you are raring to go get those prizes! I’m happy to answer questions but please just ask in the comments box so I don’t have to repeat myself in emails.

All the best with your fundraising!

If you’ve found this helpful, please do take a minute to follow me on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. I share all my advice and tips for free. Most of my blogs are written from cafes so if you’d like to buy me a cuppa as a thanks, you can do so via Ko-fi.

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