How to get space donated to your nonprofit

Today's message comes courtesy of a recent phone call with a client. We were discussing the possibility of  securing office and meeting space via corporate donation, and I realized that this is a resource that many nonprofits don't know about. 

The truth is, space rental tends to be one of the larger items on a nonprofit's budget. As a result, a nonprofit stands to save literally thousands of dollars every year by receiving donated space. 

So, how does one go about doing this?

Below, is a step-by-step process for acquiring donated space. As with most things a little perseverance may be required, but by keeping at it you create space for the miraculous to occur.

1. What do you need?

The first step is to think through your requirements. In other words, how much space do you need to efficently run your nonprofit? Also, how often do you need the space? For example, if you have staff and volunteers doing things daily for the nonprofit, perhaps you need a dedicated space that you have access to during the work week. Or perhaps you simply need space for board meetings and after hours events.

It's important to be as detailed as possible about your requirements and specifications so that you approach potential donors who are able to give you exactly what you need. (e.g., Do you need storage space? Conference rooms? Parking space? etc.)

Bonus tip: We recommend calculating the cost of what your nonprofit would pay for desired space as this makes a compelling case to potential donors. (e.g., "By donating X property, Nonprofit will save $10,000. This will allow Nonprofit to start a new program and make an even bigger impact"). 

2. Prepare your ask

Once you are clear on space requirements, the next step is to create a compelling request. In previous e-mails, we've talked about fundraising case statements. A request for donated space is very similar to a case statement. In it, the nonprofit is introduced and a detailed request is made. When asking for a donation of space, it's important to showcase the nonprofit as trustworthy and responsible. If appropriate, we recommend the nonprofit assuming certain costs such as office supplies and insurance. In a nutshell, it's important to make the nonprofit an attractive tenant to increase the chance of a donor saying 'yes'.

Bonus tip: It can also help to showcase the donor in a special way. For example, mentioning the donor on the nonprofit's website or sponsorship materials is a strategically attractive way to win over donors.

3. Approach potential donors

With your specifications set and your request carefully crafted, it's time to approach potential donors.  You'd be surprised by the options that are out there by letting family, friends and colleagues know what you are up to. Perhaps their employer is open to donating space, or they know someone with extra space to give away. Additionally, you might approach the Chamber of Commerce and other business organizations in the area, attending one of their meetings and making a formal request in front of a group. This is where persistence can really pay off. 

Bonus tip: We recommend making highly personalized and customized interactions with potential donors. When it comes to things like renting space, donors tend to make decisions based off of the vibe they receive when the request is made. 

As always, we remain in service to you and your mission, and are an e-mail away if you could use further guidance.

Create an amazing week!