Tips for Asking for a Donation for National Night Out from Local Businesses

Get Started

• Decide what you need. Put together a list of items that you are asking for—if you are asking for cash, be sure to let businesses know what you will be buying.

• Create a letter of request. It can be short—a welcome, who you are and why NNO is important to your community and what you are requesting. Be sure to include contact information. If you can tailor each letter to each business, all the better.

• Ask early. Some businesses are a part of a chain and they need to approach their district manager regarding donations. Other businesses will support only a few block club events and you want to be one of the first to ask!

Remind businesses that when they donate to an NNO event they are: creating a stronger, safer community, supporting the neighborhood volunteers and block clubs, and promoting their business and products to the community.

Approach Local Businesses

• Start with a business you think will donate. It makes approaching other businesses easier because you can say that others have already donated. Encourage the next business to jump on the band wagon.

• Make your request in person, but also provide a copy of your letter of request in case the owner is out, or they need time to review your request.

• Ask for the person who will make the decision - the store manager or owner rather than the clerk.

• Tell the person who you are, where you live, what National Night Out is, the activities that your block has done (or will do!), and how they can help.

• Inform the business that you will put a sign up at your event recognizing their donation.

• Be aware that some businesses will respond immediately and others will want to think it over before responding.

• Don't be discouraged if businesses turn you down. They may get many requests or have specific donation policies.

• Follow up with the business if you do not hear back from them within a week.

• Be flexible - you may ask for food or paper supplies and receive items that can make good prizes for games or door prizes.

• Invite the business to attend the event; leave flyers with them to post.

Thank the business for taking the time to talk with you even if they do not donate.

Follow-Up

• Post a sign listing all contributors at your NNO event.

• Thank the business after the event. Have neighbors sign a thank you card at your NNO event that you can send.

• Patronize the business afterwards, so they feel that they did build ties with the community by donating.

Last updated Sep. 27, 2011