How to Solicit Donations for Your Virtual Auction

How to Solicit Donations for Your Virtual Auction

ntimidated to ask for businesses to donate to your next virtual auction?

Keep reading to learn how to solicit donations for your virtual auction. Find out how nonprofits can overcome the fear of asking for live auction donations with these plug-and-play scripted templates.

Overcoming the Fear of Asking

It can certainly be scary cold calling or emailing local businesses to donate to virtual auctions. The fear of rejection or offending them, especially given all of the economic turmoil in this pandemic, is real.

The good news is, you can overcome this fear by remembering:

  • You are giving businesses an opportunity to give back to their community.

  • You are providing their company with free marketing and advertising.

  • You are helping businesses enhance their public image.

  • You are not being personally rejected when you hear “no.”

Virtual Auction Solicitation Templates

Still not sure where to start the conversation? Here are two templates to help you break the ice.

1. Phone Call: Past Partners

Hi, my name is [your name] with [organization]. May I please speak with [previous contact]?

If not available:

May I please leave a message? (Hi [previous contact], my name is [your name] with [organization]. I am calling regarding a continued partnership for this year’s [name of the fundraiser]. With your sponsorship [say specific item given] last year, we were able to receive enough donations to [program outcome]! Thank you again for your previous partnership. Could you please give me a call back at your earliest convenience to discuss the partnership for this year's event? My number is 000-000-0000. Again that’s 000-000-0000. Or my email is ____@___.com. Thank you and have a wonderful day!)

If available:

Hi, my name is [your name] with [organization]. Do you have a few minutes to speak with me about sponsoring again for a major event that [mission statement]?

If no:

Ok, when would be a convenient time to call you back?

If yes:

Thanks for taking the time to speak with me! I work for [organization], [description of organization]. (Pause, smile, breathe, continue) We are in need of corporate sponsorships and I am approaching businesses and community leaders for help. Would it be possible for your organization to donate ______________ for our major special event?

Here, they will most likely ask you for more information or ask you to send them information.

Answer their questions as thoroughly as possible, and direct them to your website. If they request written info, follow up by sending them a letter and brochure, and call again two business days after you think they have received your letter (approximately five business days from when you send it).


Always close on a positive note, knowing what your next step will be, alleviating as many of their objections as possible.

If the person declines to donate at this time:

May I send you info about [organization] and contact you later in the year for a donation?

If they cannot give what you have requested:

Is there some other amount or item you would be willing to give?

If not:

Do you have any colleagues or belong to any business associations that might be willing to help?

It is ok if someone is unable to help, but make the most of your phone call and try to not only make it a positive reflection of SBSK and see it as another opportunity to get another lead.

2. Phone Call: Potential Partners

Hello, My name is [your name] with [organization]! May I please speak with the owner/manager?

If not available:

May I please leave a message? (Leave a message for the person you are trying to reach, asking them to return your call. Leave your phone number. Do not hang up the phone until you get the following information from the “gatekeeper”: