Wednesday, June 04, 2008

To Receive, Ask

roll of quilt batting

I always look for sale and clearance items to support my charity efforts and still find the occasional great deal. I've been doing this 11 years and great bargains are harder and hard to find. Even better than a bargain is free stuff.

The UPS driver rang my doorbell and left this lovely roll of quilt batting on my porch yesterday, courtesy of Fairfield Processing, makers of Poly-Fil quilt batting. All it cost me was a little time and the effort of writing 2 email messages.

Louise and Lucille mentioned needing batting at our Project Linus 3rd Sunday group last month. I told them to wait to buy and I'd try to get a donation. Mission accomplished! The roll is 48" wide. I don't know how long it is, but a similar roll filled quite a few Project Linus blankets 2 years ago. Thank you Fairfield Processing!

Get Donations for Your Group

  • Identify potential donors. Check the labels on the products you use for the manufacturer's name. Retail businesses may donate, but I've had better luck with manufacturers.
  • Find contact information for your potential donors. Everybody has a web site. Look for a consumer information or customer service contact. There's a lot of information on the World Wide Web. Use some of it. Search engines (Google, Yahoo, Metacrawler, etc.) are your friends.
  • If you find an email address or e-contact form, send a brief electronic message. Identify yourself as a volunteer for name of your charity or group and request a name and address to send a letter requesting a donation of what you want to receive. Mention that information about your charity can be found on your charity's website (give the URL).
  • Write a paper letter to the name and address provided in the response to your electronic message. If there is no electronic contact information, send a letter to the consumer information or customer service address. This letter should contain the following:
    • The charity for which you are requesting a donation and a brief description of what it does and what it has accomplished. If it is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, mention that.
    • What you need that the business can donate. Be somewhat specific. For example, worsted weight acrylic yarn in colors appropriate for children. Ask if they will consider a donation.
    • The return address area should contain the organization name, street address, and website address. Do not use a P. O. Box. They need a street address for delivery. If the organization has no office, like Project Linus chapters, use your home address.
    • The signature block should contain your name (printed) and your position in the charity. Your position may be "Volunteer". I also include my phone and email address in the signature block.
    • The letter should be no more than 1 page. Use a 10 or 12 point font size.
  • Some businesses ask for your address via email and you won't need to write a paper letter. Don't count on this, but it does happen.
  • Not all businesses will donate. Some will offer a reduced price. Some will offer nothing.
  • Keep a record of your research, correspondence and results for future use. A business that declined to donate may change its' policy in the future, so it is worth checking every year or two.

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