Who is most likely to donate wine?

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OrionA
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Who is most likely to donate wine?

#1 Post by OrionA » March 10th, 2017, 12:18 pm

I have a friend who is organizing a fundraising event for a 501c3 nonprofit theatre company in San Francisco. She’d like to provide VIP ticketholders with a complimentary bottle of wine, ideally donated by a local winery. We started doing some research, and a lot of the larger wineries require long lead times (e.g. 3 months) between donation requests and approvals. (Wish we’d thought of the idea earlier! We only have 6 weeks.)

Does anyone know of any particular wineries that give donations to arts programs and have a shorter turnaround time? Should we try cold-calling people that don’t explicitly mention donation programs on their website? If so, what sort of wineries would be most interested in doing so? (For instance, I imagine many boutique wineries are operating on margins that might not allow them to make those kinds of contributions. OTOH, I imagine larger outfits might take awhile to process donation requests. I’m happy to be wrong about either of these assumptions.)

Anyone have experience in this area?

Thanks for your help!
-- Orion Auld

Stephen Pepe
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Who is most likely to donate wine?

#2 Post by Stephen Pepe » March 11th, 2017, 10:20 am

We, and I am sure other producers, receive letters or emails weekly asking for wine donations. We make donations to non profits that we support or to our customers who ask us to support their favorite non profit. You will be more successful in asking for wine donations from wineries from whom you regularly buy wine. Another way is to ask your non profit Board members or major donors if they know any winery owners or winemakers or if they know non profits that wineries have supported. Their is a wide spread misconception that wineries can deduct the retail or wholesale value of wines they donate to non profits. Wineries can only deduct the cost of production of the wine. Good luck.
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Doug Schulman
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Who is most likely to donate wine?

#3 Post by Doug Schulman » March 14th, 2017, 7:12 am

Wineries and retailers are constantly bombarded with requests for free wine. Theatre is great, but this isn't exactly homelessness or starving children we're talking about. Your friend basically wants free gifts to give to customers, which doesn't seem like much of a cause. It's probably not worth the time and effort of soliciting such "donations", unless she has an existing relationship with a winery as Stephen mentioned.
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M A T T H A R T L E Y
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Who is most likely to donate wine?

#4 Post by M A T T H A R T L E Y » March 14th, 2017, 11:20 am

Maybe your best bet would be to ask for a discount, given it is for charity, and then purchase the wine.
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A Yambor
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Who is most likely to donate wine?

#5 Post by A Yambor » June 15th, 2017, 4:13 pm

As a retailer, I am asked for donations multiple times a day. Ask the businesses that you support.
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John Davis
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Who is most likely to donate wine?

#6 Post by John Davis » July 13th, 2017, 2:02 pm

I operated or owned a grocery store for 27 years and donations are a pain in the ass. Very few are actually thankful, many actually expect donations and you never know how to do it fairly. And it is very rare that the people you donate to actually reciprocate by shopping with you (yes, we tracked it). So, as above, if you ask someone make sure you support them or begin supporting them.

Our final solution that worked incredibly well was our "Partners for Progress". Customers were awarded "points" for every dollar they spent (essentially) and could "donate" those points electronically and our system would track the points. When a group got "x" number of points (5000, IIRC) they came in and picked up a check for $50.00. We took a picture of one of our managers handing them a check for promotional opportunities. There was no limit. Once group collected at least one $50.00 per month. It made my job much easier. Want a donation, you have to shop with us. Over many years I only made a handful of exceptions and all but a few understood. I know that it doesn't help you but that is the length we went to just to stop the BS.

We went to this after I was asked 4 times in one day for a donation. It can get way out of control and can become almost confrontational. As also said above, someone or a group of people buying it at cost might work a lot better and they take the deduction.

JD

* I "benchmarked" a/k/a stole from another store in Stuart, FL.
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Will Lewis
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Who is most likely to donate wine?

#7 Post by Will Lewis » August 27th, 2017, 12:46 pm

I was in charge of my local charities wine auction las year that benefits a boy's and girl's home (think the worst stories you can, and this place takes them in, and helps them feel loved, feed, educated, etc.). I reached out to all of the wineries from whom I purchase on their lists, as well as the retailers. I have to be honest, I have spent tens of thousands of dollars with some of these wineries, and they wouldn't give a cent, even though I promised I'd never contact them for a donation again. Others from whom I'd ordered little, donated a lot. There was no rhyme or reason. The auction was a success, in large part to my own personal donation of wines, but many of the wineries did provide something. I was surprised, though, how little some of the bigger wineries would offer (I really had to push), even though I buy CASES a year from them, even when they weren't big.

If you have oenophiles on your committee, have them reach out the way I did. BTW, my local chain liquor store, through whom I also bought a lot, wouldn't donate anything, only giving 10% off. I then found out one of my neighbors owns a small wine shop that I've gone to, and she donated a few bottles, discounted a lot, and I bet you can guess where I go when I want to buy retail now.

Wow, just realized this is a dead thread.

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PeterJ
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Who is most likely to donate wine?

#8 Post by PeterJ » August 27th, 2017, 7:04 pm

Have you ever been in a position where you're asked for donations constantly? It can be almost constant and the bigger you are the more you're asked. I understand that one would hope there'd be a way for them to do a little something for good customers, and I'd like to think they do what makes sense, but it can be quite a deluge from their side. And way too much to allow contributions beyond a controlled budget. Not what you'd hope for..... but likely reality.
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Will Lewis
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Who is most likely to donate wine?

#9 Post by Will Lewis » September 4th, 2017, 2:02 pm

PeterJ wrote:Have you ever been in a position where you're asked for donations constantly? It can be almost constant and the bigger you are the more you're asked. I understand that one would hope there'd be a way for them to do a little something for good customers, and I'd like to think they do what makes sense, but it can be quite a deluge from their side. And way too much to allow contributions beyond a controlled budget. Not what you'd hope for..... but likely reality.
I get it. It's an entitlement theory - "I've been a good customer so you owe me." And if everyone thinks they're owed, we'll that doesn't leave a whole lot of wine left to actually sell.

I was just surprised with a particular few wineries. I mean Screaming Eagle, for example, donated 2 bottles of Jonata. I did not think they would donate anything, as I have not been on their list that long. Granted, it wasn't SE, but it also wasn't nothing. A winery who recently sold and from whom I've bought 2-7 cases a year (of $50+ wine) for the past decade offered nothing until I REALLY pushed, and then only offered 1 bottle of $25 wine.

Some, whose production is smaller, but who are targeting to get in the mainstream flat out said "No, we only do the Napa auction." Of course, these are the same people whom I found are selling their wine (whom I've helped make into a name after buying it for ~10 years) for cheaper through retail now.

Anyway, you can't please everyone, and there will always be more legitimate charities who need donations than there is wine to go around. However, it's also a PR move to consider how much the person asking has spent with you over the past decade, and whether it's a 1-time request, at least in my opinion.

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