Donation Stations can vary in how they appear, how they communicate, and how they receive funds. Donation Stations are often tables or areas in which an organization fundraises for a specific cause. They’re used by organization fundraisers in an effort to encourage giving in their community. Offering a Donation Station extends a Giving Day or campaign in partnership with online fundraising which allows new and existing supporters to engage in different, rewarding ways.
1. Set Your Goals
Are you ready to plan your Donation Station? The first and most important step of setting up a donation station is establishing your goals in your fundraising efforts. Make goals specific to your organization that you’d like to reach in your long-term and short-term fundraising campaigns.
Tip: Think outside of the box! A monetary goal is not necessarily required in your fundraising goals. Common non-monetary goals are recruiting volunteers, raising further awareness of your cause, or increasing your number of new donors.
2. Rally Your Volunteers
Another essential part of your Donation Station’s success is the positive influence of your board members. These built-in teammates can be some of the best advocates to fundraise and represent your organization’s goals!
Volunteers should be prepared to talk about your organization. Make sure your Volunteers are trained properly to express your organization’s goals, to set up and break down your Donation Station, and to properly accept donations on your organization’s behalf.
Volunteers will need to have access to, and be trained on, recording and protecting donor data through a spreadsheet. Receipts for donors who give by cash or check at your Donation Station are important as well! A consistent record-keeping process will make it smoother and simpler for the whole team.
3. Consider Collaborating
Working with another nonprofit organization on a Donation Station is another great way to solidify your commitment to bettering your community.
An example of this may be two Environmental Sustainability organizations teaming together at a grocery store to collect cans and bottles to recycle. Proceeds could be split between the organizations, and the Donation Station provides supporters the ability to directly engage in their mission!
However, mission similarity is not always necessary! For example, if a Dog Rescue frequently supports a neighboring Food Bank, setting up a “Pizza and Pups” Donation Station (at a shelter?) may be a great opportunity for both organizations to engage with supporters, and create a buzz around their campaigns.
Tip: You may want to ask yourself these questions to get started: Do we have a relationship with other local Non-Profit Organizations? Do we have similar goals? If not, would we be able to brainstorm a donation station “theme” that would attract supporters?
4. Set Up Your Donation Station
Hosting your Donation Station in a high-traffic, popular location is recommended. Often, donation stations will frequent local businesses. When you set up, make sure your station is upfront, and visible!
Basic tabling includes the partnership of a businesses location but not necessarily their participation in your fundraising. Consider setting up your Donation Station with online donation access so that your donors can give with a phone, tablet, or laptop! Depending on your organization’s resources, volunteers can provide this equipment. Using Google Chrome is highly recommended as this is the browser that is most frequently updated and most compatible with GiveGab.com. Most importantly, offline donations are safely accepted and recorded by volunteers.
Coordinating tabling during a planned event can be a great opportunity for your organization! This type of tabling includes the partnership of the business, whether that be wider advertising or a partial-proceeds agreement. A key point is to fundraise at popular venues, in an area that is valued by local community members. The Donation Station should ideally have a Volunteer greeting and explaining the process to visiting supporters. Examples of venues are locally loved restaurants, bars, or local historical buildings. If you are participating in a Giving Day, consider holding a Donation Station on the big day!
Tip: If it is your first time holding a Donation Station, keep in mind where you’ve seen them before! Those businesses may be more inclined to partner with you to Station there.
5. Engaging Your Donation Station Host
Once your goals are set, and you have a clear idea of what you want your Donation Station to look like, it’s time to get in contact with your potential hosts!
Be passionate & confident! You are the best supporter and advocate for your organization.
Keep in mind that the goal of the initial request should be to set up an in-person meeting.
Continue to reach out until you get a positive or negative response – do not let asks go unanswered! Visit their website to get an idea of their goals, mission, values to weave that into your communications.
Make sure to include:
- Direct relationships or connections to the business in the first paragraph (if applicable)
- Organization name, contact info, Giving Day name and date (campaign/event if applicable, along with the date, time, and location)
- Clear expectations and hopes for the partnership
- How the partnership could benefit both sides — Fun Fact: 91% of consumers switch to brands that support charitable causes
- Your goals for this campaign
Check out this Email Template to help you get started!
6. Pack Your Supplies
- Signs with calls to action
- Laptop or an iPad
- Take-home goodies
- Stickers, Pens, etc.
7. Get the Word Out
Spreading the excitement about your Donation Station details has a huge impact on your success! Make sure to share on social media the details of your call to action: Why are you holding a Donation Station?, What can your supporters do to make an impact? Be sure to include the dates and times your organization will be fundraising, too! Most important of all, have fun! 🙂
Many Thanks to our partners at Missoula Community Foundation and Community Foundation DeKalb County for providing wonderful tips and example of how to run a successful donation station.