Most charities rely on one-time or recurring donations made by individuals and businesses. Whether you are forming a new charity or fundraising privately for a more personal cause, you need to understand how a donation request form works. We’ll teach you everything you need to know to compose an excellent donation form so you can get the funding you need right away.
The donation request form should include the name and contact information of the person or business doing the donation, the amount of the donation, and the purpose of the donation. There are many different ways to get a donation request form, but we strongly recommend using a preformatted, professionally created donation request form template. Using a simple, customizable donation request form helps make sure that it is straightforward and easy to understand what you are asking and why you need it.
What Is a Donation Request Form?
A donation request form is a simple legal document that asks potential donors to give to a cause. Additionally, these forms usually offer different ways to provide and may allow donors to submit a payment online instantly. A good, high-quality donation request form should tell donors immediately what they are supporting, collect their information to thank them and solicit future donations, and take no more than five minutes to complete.
When is a Donation Request Form Needed?
You need a donation request form any time you are soliciting donations. However, they are especially important when you need to increase funds quickly. Having these documents on hand to email or give out physical copies is a smart way to increase your donor pool and get the funding you deserve. Generally, these forms are used by larger charitable organizations to solicit donations from many individuals and organizations simultaneously as part of their regular business. Individuals and smaller charities can also use these forms to help streamline how they collect donations.
Why You Need Donation Request Forms
As important as knowing when to use a donation request form is, you should also consider why you need it. Here’s a quick list of why everyone soliciting donations should use these documents.
- It is essential to have this document to keep track of all the donations made to your organization for tax purposes.
- Donation request forms help you track and thank donors
- Keeping a clear paperwork trail will help if you ever get audited
- People will ask for them occasionally or inquire how to donate. It would be best if you always had a fast, simple answer on hand.
Essential Elements of a Donation Request Form
Donation request forms are relatively standardized. You’ll need to know who is donating, how much, and how they intend to pay, among other information. Below we’ve created an outline for the essential elements of a donation form in the order they typically appear on the page.
- Title- At the top of the page, in large bold letters, the form should say “Donation Form,” so the reader knows unambiguously, at a glance, what they are looking at.
- Logo or Business Name- Your donors need to know who or what they are donating to so they can decide how much to give.
- (Optional) Request, Intent, and Gratitude Statement- You may want to open with a polite request that tells donors why you need money and how you intend to spend it.
- Name- At the top, have a space for the donor’s full legal name.
- Email- Email is an excellent piece of contact information to collect since it allows you to thank the donors and send future communications and requests.
- Phone Number- This is the donor’s phone number, so you can contact them and thank them later.
- Donation Type- You may list recommended amounts or a recurring gift option here.
- Comment Section- Leave space for the donor to make any requests, such as how to use the money they are giving or to say anything they feel needs to be said.
- Donation Amount- This is simply the dollar amount the donor wishes to give.
- Payment Method- List all your accepted payment methods, such as cash, check, PayPal, and credit or debit cards. Leave a checkbox beside it so the donor can select their preferred payment method.
- Submission Button (for online donations only)- When sending requests via email documents, you need a submission button that allows the donor to send money directly to your cause. In this case, it’s best to leave physical cash and checks off the list of options.
Pro Tip: The more payment methods you have available, the more likely someone is to find a way to donate.
Tips for Soliciting Donations
Are you looking for ways to raise funds for your nonprofit organization? If so, you may wonder how to solicit donations from individuals and businesses. Soliciting donations can be challenging, but you can do a few things to increase your chances of success. Here are our best tips for soliciting donations.
- Do Your Research- Before asking people for donations, it’s important to do your research. This means understanding the cause you’re raising money for, knowing your audience, and having a clear plan for using the funds. By doing your research, you’ll be able to make a more persuasive case for why people should donate to your cause.
- State Your Case- Have a clear and compelling case for why someone should donate to your cause. It would be best if you communicated urgency but not desperation.
- Make a Personal Connection- When asking people for donations, it’s essential to make a personal connection. Reach out to people individually and make your pitch specific to them. You can do this by tailoring your message to their interests or needs. Making a personal connection will make you more likely to get people to donate to your cause.
- Be Professional- When sending donation request forms, it’s best to use a customizable template created by a professional. These forms are checked for spelling and grammar and contain all the essential elements. Additionally, they are made to look nice, and that helps engender trust and gives validity to your mission that you cannot get with hastily scrawled, misspelled words.
- Connect With People- Build relationships with potential donors and cultivate a sense of trust.
- Be persistent- When soliciting donations, it’s crucial to be persistent. Don’t simply ask once and let it go. Successful charities and other businesses that accept donations are the ones that call or send forms every year and keep contacting people to let them know that more is needed. Find a good balance between pestering people so often they don’t want to hear from you and making your appeal every few months or annually so your organization gets what it needs.
- Gratitude Matters- Contact donors to thank them every time they donate.
- Honesty is Best- Be 100% transparent about where the money is going. You even set up a blog or website to show donors where every penny you collect is spent to avoid confusion or accusations of misspending.
If you are new to making and sending donation request forms, you should ask lots of questions. In order to help you reach your goal, we’ve provided the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about these forms. Here you will find out more about who can accept donations, who gets a tax write-off, and what types of donations exist, among other helpful information.
Not all donations are the same. People can donate in several ways, including item donations like food drives and toys for tots, volunteer service or time donation, and even organ donors. However, the list below details the most common financial contributions.
ᐅ One-Time Donation- This is a single event where the person or entity gives a fixed dollar amount.
ᐅ Recurring Gifts- Recurring gifts happen once every set period of time, such as monthly or annually.
ᐅ Planned Gifts- Planned gifts are arranged in advance, but the individual or organization does not receive that gift until a set date or event occurs in the future.
ᐅ In-Kind Donations- An in-kind donation isn’t money but has monetary value, such as donating a number of goods from a business.
ᐅ Stock Donations- Though not all charities accept stock donations, this type of donation generally allows the giver to get a fair market value tax deduction.
You can accept donations without being a nonprofit. However, this does not exempt you from tax duties, and your donors cannot get a tax write-off. Moreover, if you accept donations and the donors receive anything in return, it becomes taxable income.
Not all donations are tax-exempt. Your donors generally only get a write-off if your business has 501c3 status. In order to get approved as a 501c3, you’ll need to gather some documents. You’ll need your organization’s Articles of Incorporation, bylaws, and conflict of interest policy. You’ll also need a list of your board members and officers. Then you can pay and apply for the status with the IRS.
Donations are a wonderful way for charities and individuals to boost their ability to do more. Whether it’s funding a private medical debt or the March of Dimes, everyone needs help sometimes. If you’re soliciting donations for a 501c3 charity, donors get more than the joy of giving when the next tax season comes around since they can deduct their philanthropy from their taxes. Learning how to ask for donations is vital, and one of the most important parts of that process is often creating a beautiful, professional donation request form. You can elevate your request forms and save time by using a professional template to make your documents look perfect and polished before the donors see them, which can help you collect the donations you need.