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Support Local Business with Fundraising Buy Local Campaigns

written by: DebbieHenthorn•edited by: Donna Cosmato•updated: 7/11/2011

A fundraising buy local campaign encourages non-profits and community members to support local businesses.

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    Fundraising Buy Local Campaigns

    Even in an ailing economy, non-profits still need to find ways to raise money. Creative fundraising efforts on a local level keep more of the money in the non-profits’ coffers and encourages people to buy local.

    According to Buy Local Philly, a Philadelphia campaign to encourage support for local businesses, local business-support for non-profits is 350% higher than that from non-locally owned businesses.

    There are several ways to use a fundraising buy local campaign. Asking for donations from a local business is always the first effort a non-profit will make. However, the fundraising has to offer more to the local business owner than a tax deduction.

    Remind the community to buy local

    Publicly acknowledging a local business’ donation is more important than just sending a thank-you letter. Sharing the knowledge that a local business donated a specific item to a fundraiser can entice community members to buy local.

    There is no such thing as “too much" of a thank you when coordinating a fundraising buy local campaign. There should be large signs at fundraising events thanking all those local businesses who may have contributed. While it may cost a few dollars, a thank you letter or advertisement in the local newspaper will let people who didn’t attend the event know that local businesses have contributed.

    A simple buy local fundraiser

    One of the easiest buy local fundraisers to organize is a gift certificate sale. The concept is simple: the non-profit sells gift certificates to local businesses that have been provided at a discount. For example, a pizza shop might agree to provide $10 gift certificates to the non-profit for only $7.50. The non-profit would realize a gain of $2.50 and it is likely that the customer will spend more than the $10 at the pizza shop.

    While not every local business will agree to reducing the cost of their gift certificate for a fundraiser, almost any type of small local business could be approached. A service station could be asked to provide a discounted oil change. A lawn service might agree to a reduced cost for mowing. Instead of asking these businesses to give away their product or service, the non-profit is promoting them.

    Ask local businesses for discounts, not freebies

    While the least expensive method of hosting a fundraising dinner, such as a spaghetti supper, is to ask for donations of supplies, it is important to remember that local businesses, especially in small towns, are inundated with requests for donations. There are only so many donation dollars to go around.

    Rather than spending a fundraising budget at a mega-mart in another town, asking the local grocery store manager if he can offer a discount supports buy local. The non-profit will save time and money rather than driving to another town. The store manager will remember and even if he wasn’t able to give anything away “this time", that non-profit will be remembered for conducting their fundraiser with a buy local approach.

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