This Thursday is the first class of Big Ticket Procurement Secrets. One subject we’ll be studying through the three-week intensive course is auction donation request letters.
(Get out your red editing pen! Most letters undergo a major overhaul.)
When it comes to getting a good response from your requests, it’s not just about what you write in your letters. It’s also about the format of the letter, when you present it and what you say (if it’s verbally presented).
A simple but oft overlooked tip is to keep your letter convenient.
Encourage volunteers to tuck extras into their purse or iPad bag. When they are out and about spending money, that’s often a good time to ask for something. Many shy volunteers feel empowered to ask on behalf of a charity when they are spending some of their own money at the store.
A few years ago as she shopped in a store and came into contact with the owner, a school auction co-chair was inspired to ask for a sponsorship (not an item donation in this case, but a cash donation). Having the convenience of a letter and a donation form handy makes for a quicker exchange. The adage “strike when the fire is hot” comes to mind.
As auction chair, remind volunteers to take extra copies and show them where your letters can be downloaded from the auction website or your shared Google docs files.
It’s also a good idea to tell about your own method of asking. Tell a story about how you secured a donation “from that new restaurant in the Plaza. Here’s what happened…” Share the story of what you were doing, how you asked, and what was said. Shy committee members will be inspired as they get a glimpse of what to do. They can mimic your approach until they have their own style of asking. Fake it ’til you make it.
For advanced auction procurement help, join over 60 students from around the United States at Big Ticket Procurement Secrets. We start Thursday.
See you there!