If you want to get donations for whatever your cause is, here’s what you need to know:
First, most businesses, especially family-owned or small businesses in general, are actually pretty darn charitable HOWEVER every small business I know, including our company, works with LOCAL charities, schools and organizations. BigBrandWholesale.com has donated tons of merchandise over the past 16+ years to LOCAL causes. It makes utterly no sense for us to ship something out-of-state to donate it when we have community organizations, right here in our home town, that need help, you know?
With that in mind, you will have much more success reaching out to businesses in your home town, or at least in your state.
Second, unless you represent a school, sports team or a church, wholesale businesses usually want to work with actual, real charities. That means you should create a legal charity if you want to start asking companies to hand you free items that they worked hard to afford. If you want to learn about setting up a 501(c)(3) legal charity, here’s a page for you to read over on LegalZoom.com. If you scroll down toward the bottom of the page there’s a great FAQ section that will answer your questions about creating a charity.
Third, businesses get tons of requests to donate their inventory so every business has to pick and choose who they donate to and who they don’t because at the end of the day, the business is giving away money, in the form of products. With that being said, if a company doesn’t reply to your request or says “no”, don’t be offended.
Fourth, you need to have a very clear plan for what your intentions are with the "free" inventory. We get lots of emails that say things like “I’m going to give it to refugees” or “it’s for the homeless”. While these are nice ideas there appears to be no legitimate plan; why should someone gift their inventory to you to “give to the homeless” when they can give it to their local crisis center to give to the homeless? See what I’m saying?
A clear plan involves specifics; “On July 23rd St. John Church is doing a sock drive for the homeless from 2pm - 5pm. I am collecting donations. If you would like to donate I can come pick up the socks or you can bring them to St. John Church, located at 1234 Main Street. Here is a flyer about the event.”
And finally, if you want to do something nice, like gathering clothing for the homeless, but you don't have a charity and don't represent an actual organization, consider volunteering at an organization or charity that already does what you are looking to do. For example, if you want to help the homeless, contact your local crisis centers, shelters or soup kitchens to find out how you can get involved. If you want to help animals, find local animal organizations. If you want to raise money for a cause, visit their website and see what events they have planned.
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