The Recipe for Gifts-in-Kind Campaign Success

A Best Practices Guide for Charities, Schools, Churches and other Nonprofits.

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September 16, 2019 by Your Friends at RightGift

Getting your first workplace gifts-in-kind campaign under your belt can be both exciting and intimidating.

Perhaps you don’t think of yourself as a fundraiser. You have a ‘day job’ at your nonprofit, like managing supplies and inventory. Or maybe you are a program manager, and gifts-in-kind “kind of” fits into your job description. Or maybe you just haven’t done anything like this before, and you don’t know where to begin. Don’t worry. We are here to help you every step of the way!

And speaking of “steps”, every good campaign starts with a plan. This is that plan … that “How do I do that?” recipe for success.

Conducting a gifts-in-kind campaign with RightGift is easy and fun. This informative guide walk you through 10 simple steps to help ensure your success. We provide plenty of tips as well. Remember: your efforts represent an important cause that will benefit lots of people. So, your success matters to us, too.

Good luck. Now, let’s get started.


Step 1: Determine the Purpose of Your Gifts-in-Kind Campaign

Gifts-in-kind donations can serve a variety of purposes to your organization and the people you serve. At a high level, are you:

  1. Re-purposing used or unsold items to help people in need? Like a coat drive for the winter, or collecting items for a food bank? Or,
  2. Creating a fundraising campaign to reach new and existing donors by asking them to purchase and donate exact supplies that you need to carry out your work?

If your purpose is “A”, then you will want to seek out the help of experts who deal with used items or unsold retail inventory. An organization like can be a great resource. Keep in mind that collecting and redistributing used items will take a lot of manpower, a location to store items, and plan to dispose of items you collect but cannot re-purpose.

If your purpose is “B”, then RightGift is here to help. We specialize in gifts-in-kind campaigns that fulfill specific needs for nonprofits just as if we part of your supply chain management process. In fact, we ARE a supply chain management solution for nonprofits.


Step 2: Get Some Software

To manage a successful gifts-in-kind campaign, you need a software solution that will help you get the work done. Let’s remind ourselves why the right software is so important.

If you think about gifts-in-kind as helping to manage your organization’s supplies, then you need a solution that will (a) help you find what you need, (b) facilitate purchases, and (c) deliver the items to your doorstep.

TIP:  RightGift handles any gifts-in-kind campaign mission. For all sorts of charitable organizations. Got an idea, but need a little help? Give us a shout.

More specifically, gifts-in-kind campaign solution should:

  • Enable you to select the exact items you need;
  • Organize the campaign as a “wish list” or “giving registry”, like a wedding registry;
  • Communicate with potential donors;
  • Provide progress reports; and
  • Distribute the supplies being donated.

And the best news: RightGif does all of this and more!


Step 3: Determine Your Supply Need

What does your organization need?

Are there supplies that you are always running out of, so you need a better method remain stocked? Do certain types of items appeal to donors, and so they represent a great opportunity to attract new donors or retain existing ones? (e.g. an animal shelter allowing donors to “sponsor” a pet-stay by delivering food and toys each month.)

RightGift’s cloud-based software handles almost any type of gifts-in-kind campaign. Run a one-time drive in support of a specific event (e.g. you are refurbishing a playground and you need supplies from Home Depot). Create a recurring giving program to help boost your supply inventory (e.g., you need to re-stock your food pantry more frequently, perhaps with harder to obtain items). Plan ahead, or respond to an emergency need.

TIP:  Make sure you assess both what you need and how frequently you need to be re-supplied. Planning ahead will make the "ask" more impactful to you donors.


Step 4: Who is Your Audience?

What an important question!

Obvious, but very important. You have options.

  • Are you trying to reach new donors, perhaps through a social media campaign?
  • Will you contact existing donors - or perhaps lapsed donors! - to give them a new way to support your mission?
  • Do you have a corporate partner who wants to help you raise needed supplies through a workplace giving campaign?

Or maybe you have some combination in mind. All of these audiences make terrific targets. By determining your audience upfront, you will have a better sense of the messaging and communication channels that you need to employee.

And if you are working with a corporate partner, be sure to include them early in your planning - they will have good ideas to share as well.


Step 5: Set a Goal

Nothing drives participation in an activity like a goal.

184 of 256 items gifted! 72% Complete

Campaign progress bar

It is generally a good idea to set a goal that is a bit of a stretch but achievable. Remember, successfully reaching your goal will only encourage future participation for another cause or campaign.

TIP:  If you are working with a corporate partner to support your campaign, be sure to ask your company POC for his or her input on the goal. How many employees might represent potential donors? Do they have a sense of the willingness of their employees to participate?


Step 6: Set Dates

Okay, nothing drives participation in an activity like a goal AND a deadline!

Ends in 2 days! 

221 of 256 items gifted! 86% Complete

Campaign progress bar

Start dates are important for your team and for your communication plan (more on that below). But the end date is critical. We are all human, and human beings are what we are. We often need a kick in the pants to remind us to do the very things we fully intend to get done. So help out your fellow donors by giving them a deadline by which to participate. Every successful fundraising campaign has a specific beginning AND a specific end.

Fundraising campaigns can be a bit like that old joke about in-laws: we are glad when they come to visit, and we are glad to see them go!

And having said that, here’s an exception to that old joke: building a recurring giving program. If your nonprofit needs support for certain supplies every month, then set up a RightGift wish list each month. The goal may be less important than the cadence of giving, and circling back to donors with thank you's and impact reporting.


Step 7: Build Your RightGift Wish List

RightGift’s wish-list building software is easy to use, enabling you to quickly set up your first gifts-in-kind fundraising campaign. You can choose from templates designed for similar campaigns, build your own wish list, or ask a RightGift Impact Specialist to help you get started.

What do you put on your wish list? Great question. That’s where Step 3, Determine the Supplies You Need, and Step 4, Who is Your Audience?, come in handy. This is especially true if you are working with a corporate partner.

TIP:  All items in the wish lists are selected from leading retailers, with no price markups. Even better, our retail partners provide delivery, so you don’t have to worry about pickup.

It is a good idea to populate your wish list with items at various price points. Our experience has shown that typical donors will want to sign in and get through to check-out in a few clicks. So give your donors a range of items to purchase for your charity - some inexpensive, some medium priced, maybe a few at a higher price. If you need help setting up your list, just give us a shout.

Sample Wish List

(insert Brent's Place wish list page)


Step 8: Set Up a Communication Plan

A communication plan can be as simple as you want it to be. You have options.

First, decide whether you intend to use your organization’s email marketing system to send out emails to prospective donors or RightGift’s email notification tool. Does your nonprofit have a company-wide social channel? Posting campaign news there will help you reach new donors.

Most importantly, never forget that “Fundraising 101” rule of thumb: the number one reason people don’t give is because they have not been asked. Plan to make multiple outreach efforts to your donors and prospects.

To use RightGift for email notifications, you will upload a spreadsheet of names and email addresses, and then you can generate outbound email communications to your team … even thank you's to individuals who have contributed to the campaign. Just keep in mind that RightGift offers outbound communications only.

Next, set up a schedule for when you want to email and what the message is.

For example, you may want:

  1. An introductory invitation to the campaign, with an impact statement about the benefits of giving for the people or community helped.
  2. A progress report of giving activity one week later, with a reminder to participate.
  3. An additional message of encouragement, perhaps with a second impact statement, letting everyone know that the campaign wraps up in a week.
  4. A final thank you to everyone (givers and non-givers alike) to announce the results of the campaign. Including a message of appreciation from your partner charity is a nice touch.

Impact statements are powerful motivators. Examples would be:

(Kyle to add icons beside each example)

“Fulfilling our campaign wish list will help The Women and Children Center furnish six rooms for families in crisis for up to six months.”

“For every $100 of food that you purchase for The Local Area Food Bank, you will help feed a family of four for a month.”


Step 9: Go Time!

With your wish list built, goals and dates set, and communication plan in hand, hit the “Go!” button. And good luck!


Step 10: Wrap Up

Be sure to thank everyone. ALL of your donors and constituents deserve to know how successful your campaign has been, including those who did not participate this time. Did you have a corporate partner supporting your campaign? Be sure to let them know. Better yet, provide a message of appreciation from your CEO and your Board to their leadership and employees. Don’t forget to provide a final impact statement as part of your closing message.

TIP:  You would be surprised to learn how many charities and fundraisers never say “Thank you” to donors and inform them of results… seriously. Let's not let that happen.


About RightGift

We hope you have found this Best Practices Guide helpful.

RightGift is a B-corporation headquartered in Austin, TX. We have hundreds of customers, both nonprofits and companies. Our one-of-a-kind gifts-in-kind software is available to customers for free, and we do not mark up item prices from our retail partners. 

And one last thing - let us know if we can help!!


Topics: gifts-in-kind, campaign management

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