Framing The “Donation Conversation”

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Many nonprofits accept product donations to help fuel their mission.

Donors love them. After all, what’s not to love about buying a gift for a kid in need, or off-loading a can or two of beans from the pantry?

However, some organizations have built partnerships that enable them to stretch cash donations a LOT farther than donors realize. For these nonprofits, product donations are “nice… but…”

So what’s the best way to communicate that product donations are welcome—but that cash is preferred?

It all comes down to framing the conversation around priorities.

In your ask, you must explain the value that a financial donation creates for your organization. Put that value into context with real-world examples. And don’t be afraid to show how much more value your organization gets from cash.

If you can, demonstrate how your partnerships extend your buying power. If a $10 donation can stretch—say because you can buy wholesale—to deliver $15 or even $20 of value to your beneficiaries, make that case.

You can even try to reframe the conversation around the number of beneficiaries a donor’s dollar can help. If a $10 donation provides lunch for 3 kids, let them know!

What you’re also doing here is demonstrating your ability to do the MOST good with every dollar you receive. When crafted correctly, a message like this feels good to your donors—and provides partner-level messaging benefits as well. (Partners looking to do some cause-marketing will find lots to love in this type of story).

Bottom line: if you’re struggling with well-intended but less-effective product donations, look at how you’re asking for those donations. There may be a better way for you to frame the conversation.

Need some help crafting your cash donation message? We’d love to help you review your ask before it goes out. Let us know here.