Our school just recently received its 501(c)(3) status!!
We are just starting to gear up for our Basket Raffle in March. We are mostly going to hit local businesses around town but wanted to hit around "100" national companies that donate to 501(c)(3) schools. I have read countless posts on the "companies that donate" threads but didn't get the information I needed.
Air Tran, Target, Wal-Mart has matching program, Circuit City through corporate office only, not through local stores, Microsoft, American Girl Doll Company (they stagger the years), Rodale Publishing, Disney World. Take a ride around and look at the not so obvious places. Go through industrial parks or highways and take down addresses. Mail them letters and see what happens. Maybe nothing, maybe something. Also, tap your families. Many work for companies that have matching programs. If they donate $25 to your PTO (they can take as tax deduction), their company will match it since you are now a 501(c)3. Some may work for companies that have 'company stores'. Employees can get products for way cheap or free.
Try and think outside the box a bit. You should always have a solicitation letter on you so that when you are out and about, you can also hit up vendors for a donation. Ditto for all professional people and tradesmen. One year, I won free orthodontia for my daughter. She has been through phase one of braces and I have spent ZERO out of pocket for them. Might not sound exciting or glamourous but let me tell you, that prize was worth it's weight in gold to me.
FYI- we solicited over 200 business's via the internet last year...got 16 hits. That is only 8% return. Not great return on effort but again, it's 16 donations we didn't have before.
Though there aren't specific company names listed, there is a long list of auction ideas you can copy here on this site under the Bonus Tools page. National companies might sound more exciting, but we had better success directly approaching our more local establishments.
I just sent out 155 letters last week for our fun fair in March. I just received a call from Oriental trading company. They will be sending me a blanket this week. I thought that was a really fast response! Give them a try. As I receive items I will try to post the information.Also try you local Chamber of Commerce.
Oriental Trading Co.
P.o. Box 2659
Omaaha, NE 68103