Re: Walmart and Donations
Kevin S Woods (kswoods@CHRISTA.UNH.EDU)
Fri, 11 Oct 1996 11:34:17 -0400
Reference this thread on Walmart and dontations I'd like to offer my $.02
Over the last 11 years of Scouting including guiding 1 son
through his Eagle project, holding the positions of DL, WDL, MC, CM and
SM, I have had various replies from both local, regional and national
businesses with regards to donations or support.
I would guess that many of us have at different times been
surprised, disappointed, and pleased with responses to our requests.
I have a few recommendations when it comes to making all requests,
but especially ones made by scouts such as an Eagle project.
- IDENTIFY THE POTENTIALS! My son used the local yellow pages and three
local papers to develop a list of over 200 POTENTIAL businesses that could
contribute to his project. Everything from supplies and materials, to
equipment, food and cash. Business names, addresses, and phone numbers.
Anything that had an 895-XXXX phone exchange went on his list.
- IDENTIFY THE PERSON! Find out WHO at the organization, business, or
association is the correct person to contact. It may not be the
person behind the counter you walk up to. With many businesses it
may be a regional office. You can do this by calling or in person.
(wear the uniform or identify yourself as a scout!)
- PUT IT IN WRITING! Develop a form letter (aren't computers
wondrful) identifying your project or
need. Point out the community benefit of your project or troop or pack
or den or whatever. Appeal to their sense of community. (If you are not
an accomplished writer, get some help. Schools have some wonderful
English teachers who are very willing to help one learn how to write.)
- BE SPECIFIC! Your letter should contain specific requests in addition
to a general plea. Target hardware companies for paint,
tools, anything they might carry. Target food businesses for meals,
pizzas, sodas, burgers. Target rental (small and construction large)
businesses for equipment, ie tractors, back hoes, ladders, washers,
powerlifts, mowers. Target building supply, paint, landscaping
businesses for the types of materials they have.
Target non materials businesses lawyers, MD's, Dentists,
Insurance, VFW's Am. Legions, Mayors or Selectmans office,
hairdressers, consultants, any business
that does not manufacture or sell materials of your need, for cash
- FOLLOW UP! Follow up with either a second letter or a least a call
to confirm that the business did receive your letter of request. Some
time they really do get lost or misplaced. Be sure to include your name
and nuber for questions as well as another contact such as a CC or SM,
who can confirm your request and authenticity.
- BE REALISTIC! Remember that many of our local, regional, and national
businesses are being "hit on" by more and more organizations such as
Scouting. As state and federal funding dissappears, the corporate world
is being asked to contribute everything from Girl Scout Cookies to
Baseball and soccer teams to local and county functions to Cell
Phones. A number of "chains" such as Christies Markets do everything via
their national office and target one specific group to support. (My
argument with that is that the local people who support the local store
need the local support).
- RECOGNIZE! Remember to thank both publicly and privately (IN
WRITING with that same list) everyone who contributed to your need.
As in some of the Walmart cases described during the last week, decision
making may not be at the local level. We do not know what the local
managers are being told to do.
Following this model my son, The EAGLE Scout, received over
$1,000 in outright cash donations and approximately $2,900 in materials and
services from LOCAL businesses. Even the Historical society his project was
for, allocated funds for his use. His fundraising started in January and
his actual work started in September (with summer off to work at camp).
I have been successful in having Pancake breakfasts totally
funded, Equipment donated (although I could always use more :), and
So although I can see the danger in the TV Commercial side of this
discussion and ANXIOUSLY await an explanation from someone in touch with
National..... Lets learn how to approach our supporters and realize that
they can only give so much. Do not run away or bad mouth them the first
time they say no. Try again at a later date, with a clear plan and request.
Wow! Was that more than .02 cents or what?? :)
Kevin S. Woods Raymond, N.H.
Cubmaster Pack 100
Scoutmaster Troop 111
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City