When it comes to asking businesses for a donation, it’s best to focus on local businesses as they’re the most likely to support the MS Society in your area.
You should ask for a general donation as you can spend this on anything, although the company might want to support a particular project. If this is the case, it’s important these restricted funds are clearly labelled as assigned to that project in your accounts.
Use your connections
Companies are more likely to donate if a member of their staff recommends a charity. Speak to your family, friends and volunteers in your group about their business contacts.
Don’t forget that you can also ask companies for gifts, such as meal or clothing vouchers - they make excellent raffle prizes.
The Waitrose Community Matters Scheme encourages customers to vote for their favourite of three local projects, then splits £1,000 between them in line with the vote.
To take part in the scheme simply contact your local Waitrose, who will ask you to fill in a very simple form saying why you feel your cause deserves support. The three projects each month will be selected by Waitrose staff.
- Find your nearest Waitrose and give it a go.
Approaching national organisations
Please don’t approach a national organisation without checking with your Area Fundraiser first, as we might already be in talks with them.
If you have a connection with a larger company, speak to your Area Fundraiser so that they can ‘ask’ with you. This will make the most of the opportunity for both your group and the MS Society nationally.
Contacting local businesses
Shops, pubs and restaurants are more likely to give to people they know, so it’s worth visiting in person; often a manager is able to make a decision on the spot. Take a letter on MS Society headed paper explaining what you want with you.
When approaching office-based businesses, it’s best to call the business first. Ring up and ask:
- Who is responsible for the business’s charity involvement?
- What’s the company’s current charitable activity?
- How much have they given to local charities in the past?
Once you’ve approached your business contact in person or by phone, write to them on MS Society headed paper, keeping to one side of A4 if you can. Include:
- What you will use the money for - ideally general funds
- How much you need - be realistic based on how much they’ve given to others
- Who it will benefit - talk about people affected by MS in your community
- A benefit for the company - such as mentioning their support in the press
If you’ve written to a business, it’s a good idea to follow-up your letter with a phone call a week or so later. Find out if the business is considering your proposal and whether they need any further information. They may invite you in for a meeting.
Don’t forget to send a thank you letter telling the company how their support is making a difference. Include photos and press cuttings if you have them - or write a story in your MS Society newsletter. Remember, you can’t publish the company’s logo, or advertise their products or services, in your MS Society newsletter or on our website.
If you have questions about asking businesses for donations, contact the member of staff who supports you.