Donations Information

"Never Doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
-Margaret Mead


How to Make a Donations Call

Ask for the manager when you call. If he or she is not in, find out when they’ll be back and call then. When you get in touch with them, say you’re from Camp Wildcat at the UofA. Smile while you’re talking; you sound happier. :-) You can talk about CW a little bit, but try to be concise unless they ask for more information (i.e. “We take underprivileged kids camping for free” or “We’re a non-profit, student-run organization that works with kids in the Tucson area.”). Remember to mention that we are nonprofit and donations would be tax-deductible. If you are asking for food, remember to mention the number of servings. Big Camps typically have between 50-90 people and Adventure Camps typically have between 30 and 40.

Example of Donations Solicitation Letter

Dear ((Title)) ((Last Name)),

Thank you for your interest in helping Camp Wildcat. Established in 1965, Camp Wildcat is a non-profit, student-run organization at the University of Arizona that maintains the goal of providing quality, cost-free camps for many of Tucson's underprivileged youth. Through teamwork, positive reinforcement, and role-modeling, we offer children the opportunity to challenge their personal limits, build interpersonal skills, explore creative outlets, enhance their self image and view higher education as an attainable goal.

Our non-profit organization is composed of over 150 University of Arizona student volunteers who have been doing all the camp administration, staffing, and directing since 1965. All of our donations and fundraising efforts go directly toward the needs and expenses of the numerous camps and activities that we provide each academic semester.

We were wondering if you would be interested in donating ((quantity)) ((item)) for our upcoming camp the weekend of ((date)). Camp Wildcat maintains IRS 501(c)(3) status, so your donation will be tax deductible. Proof of our 501(c)(3) status is enclosed. Thank you for your time and interest in helping Tucson’s youth. If you have any questions, please call me at ((phone #)) or ((cell phone)) or contact the Camp Wildcat office at (520) 621-7048. You can also visit us at

((Your Name))

(This letter can be changed, by either adding a fax letter head, or a mailing letter head) Donations Coordinator



Food and supplies for camp

You MUST start making calls more than 2 weeks in advance; bug, bug, bug the directors to get their menus done on time/as soon as possible so you know what to ask for. You should also go over the menu with them to make sure it doesn't have a lot of expensive, hard-to-get- donated items on it (the camps co should be doing this as well). Also split up the items allowing the directos to get involved in the donations for their camp. Meet with the Campus Coordinator to see what you already have down in storage, there is not point in getting something donated that is already down in storage. With the ability to use the foodbank for perishable food, you should keep that in mind when you are calling for donations. Try not to worry as much about bread, and vegetables as supposed to the actual meals. Keep in mind that these businesses are doing this out of the goodness of their hearts--if the managers are mean, be courteous anyways. We do not want to propagate any sort of bad reputation for Camp Wildcat. No matter what, you must always, always be nice to people when you call and ask for anything--remember that they are doing us a favor by listening. Smaller, family-owned businesses are usually much more likely to donate than chains, groceries, and wholesale places. These places will donate, but often you need to call the day of pick-up to remind them that you're coming in.

Also, Bruegger's has a policy that you must call 30+ days in advance; we eat bagels at every camp, so take it upon yourself to call Bruegger's at least 35 days before each camp, calling a different Bruegger's every time (there are sooo many--you can do it). If that falls through, the Bagelry on Campbell always donates (but their bagels are frozen and not very good), and Einstein's managers are nice and like to donate occasionally, but both locations are far north (swan&sunrise and oracle&ina; the oracle&ina location always gives more bagels; the swan&sunrise location usually has fewer bagels leftover).

Marinara sauce is pretty easy to get donated. Olive Garden is usually helpful. Always make sure you get meatless and meat, if the directors want meat sauce (we have to keep the vegetarians in mind). Tortillas, chips, and salsa are pretty easy to get donated also. Chipotle has donated tortillas several times; their managers are very nice and might also be interested in donating other food items as well. There are all kinds of places in Tucson that are willing to donate these items, including Beyond the Boarder and Rubios.

Pancake mix can usually be donated, Denny's is probally the best place to call. JB's is really nice and has also donated pancake mix in the past.
Sweet Tomatoes will donate 2 large salads for most camps. There are two locations in Tucson that you can utilize for this. Do not call Souper Salad--they're mean and have a policy that they don't donate. Fruit and veggies are really hard to get donated. If you want even a chance of getting these, you need to call at least 3 or more weeks in advance. Ground beef/hamburger patties/hot dogs are also difficult. Call way in advance.

For camps with no access to water (like some cci's and camps at Pena Blanca), call for water donations more than 2 months in advance. Sparkletts has said they might be willing to donate if we called at least 60 days in advance. You could also call Arrowhead, Crystal Geyser, and other semi- local local water places.

All Krispy Kreme donation requests need to be faxed to (480)829-3870. Do this about 1 month before a camp 

Stuff for the auction and other major fundraisers

Start making calls AT LEAST five months in advance. CW needs money to take kids on camps--this is our largest fundraiser. The phone solicitation letter and fax/mailing letter are online and can be adjusted for the 2003-04 school year. 

Misc. Donations Activities

Walmart activity

To set this up, call a Walmart, ask for the manager, say something like "We're trying to find different venues where we would sit in front of the store and ask customers if they would be interested in picking up small items to donate during their day-to-day shopping that they could drop off on their way out. We were wondering if you were interested in being one of those venues." The manager will tell you when they're booked up till (usually 2 months of weekends are booked; call way in advance), and then you can choose a date from what's open. Try hard to pick a time when members can go. If you choose a Saturday or Sunday, make sure it doesn't conflict with a camp, workday, major fundraiser, holiday, or any other large CW activity. If you're doing it on an afternoon, make sure that you or someone else can be there the whole time. As for the flyers that you're giving out when you're there, make sure you have at least 600 (we used about that many in a three-hour period). 800 would be better. You can get copies donated if you go into a copy place and ask; also, copies are 2 cents at the honors college (the Slonaker house, behind Gila, next to Manzi-Mo). Also note that Target does not allow activities like this, but I'm not sure whether K-Mart does them or not.

Calling parties

To set these up, a few months before the auction or about 3 weeks before a camp (or well in advance of whatever event you're making calls for), find a time on a Saturday or Sunday where people are free and get a bunch of people together who have free cell phone minutes on weekends to make donations calls together in one place, possibly a place with access to a fax machine (CW office?). Have candy/snacks/refreshments to entice people to come.

Going to places and asking for donations

This one should be self-explanatory. Just remember to dress decently and act professionally, and don't chew gum. Also, keep in mind that it is illegal to solicit like this at the mall or at places with signs that say "no soliciting."

Circuit City raffle set up

Only the Circuit City on Broadway does the raffle. Call the CC, and press the number it says to press when you know the name of the person you're looking for (just ask for the manager). Ask to be put on the list of businesses (I'm not sure if they're all nonprofit or not) in the drawing in which one business is chosen each month to win the item of that month (some electronics thing--if we ever do get anything, we can put it in the auction). 

Camping Supplies in general, esp. tents and backpacks

REI has donated in the past. I think Mark Zeitzer (former chair) was the one who got those sleeping bags donated. You can contact him for more information (his contact info should be on the alumni page). Look into setting up something with Summit Hut where they could have a table at the auction where donors could actually buy us sleeping bags or tents or whatever that we have already picked out; this would be purely profitable for Summit Hut and very beneficial to us as well. Popular Outdoors might do this if Summit Hut doesn't want to.

Look into working with/getting stuff donated from these camping stores and companies in off-times when you aren't making calls for camps or you just happen to have the time. 

Miscellaneous supplies for other CW activities/purposes (day activities, homecoming, office supplies, etc.)

This works more or less the same as getting food donated, though stuff is generally harder to get donated than food. 

Thank you letters

Make sure all donors get thank you letters with 501c3 forms to make sure their donations are tax-deductible--there is a form letter online on the Donations website that is linked on the board page. It works out best (and easiest for you) if you just give/email thank you letters to the people doing donations pick-ups so that they can give the thank you letters with tax info (and receipt if necessary) directly to the donors. This saves CW money on stamps as well. It's also nice if you put cute, printed-off pictures of campers with notes like "Camp Wildcat thanks you!" or "Thanks for supporting Tucson's youth!", etc. 

"Supporters" webpage

Keep supporters website updated with lists of donors (click on "Supporters" on the members page--it's at ). Editing is really very easy; just copy the format that's already set up.  Click the blue "edit" button in the upper right corner of the page.

Donations Director website

Keep Donations Director website (this page!) updated with donations info (go to the board page, click on "web page" next to donations). Page is edited in the same way as explained in #8. 

Solicitation letter for auction

Keep solicitation letter updated (we can't use the same one that was used three years ago because the dates, times, and statistics are different). The original letter was written by Rob Bessett for fundraising purposes, then edited last year by Miriam Ruth, Kirk McGettigan, and Christi Gerstle, and then edited by Christi again this year (2002-2003). The facts on the second page of the fax letter need to be updated. 

Receipt Book

You can use this for donated auction items. If food donors need a receipt, this is where you can get it. Don't give out printed off receipts--these are more business-like, we get copies, and these work better for records. The receipt book should be very similar to the treasurer one; if we don't have one anymore you can get one at any office supplies store. 

Last tidbits

Always brainstorm new ideas, and remember that you are doing all of this to benefit the kids. Don't let things overwhelm you; just take it one step at a time. Try not to stress, but work hard to keep up with everything. You can do it, and you can do it amazingly. Just do your best, and everything will be fine!!! :-)

Archived Donations



Updated by Dana Zack 3 years ago.
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