Trying to get stores to be willing to donate some of their clothing to your silent auction is most often a lot easier than asking them to donate cash to your cause. If you can get a good group of volunteers together to help you round up the donations that you need you shouldn't have any problems. You should however make sure that all of your volunteers have some sort of credentials, an easy script to follow and a description of what they are looking for as donations and some paperwork to document the donations.
If your event or fundraiser doesn't have a set goal it's important that you make that one of the first things that you do because a goal will help you organize the whole event around that particular goal. Having a goal is going to help you set up action strategies and without that it's going to be difficult for your volunteers to do their work effectively.
You need to know how many items you will want to have for your event, will they be used as door prizes, silent auction items, raffle items or all of these things. This is very important because your volunteers more than likely will be asked how the donations are going to be used.
Once you have your goal or goals set you should write up a simple script that your volunteers can use when they go out to solicit their donations. Make sure that all of your volunteers rehearse the script until they feel comfortable using it. Getting volunteers that have some sales background might make things easier as well.
Make sure that the volunteers that you recruit really believe in the reason that you are holding the event. They will be the ones that will be a lot more excited when they go out and collect the donations from different businesses.
You also will need to make up some sort of credentials for all of your volunteers so that owners and managers of businesses can easily identify who they are and who they are with. You can make badges or cards to help alleviate any concerns the potential donors might have.
You also will need to make and print donation log sheets the volunteers will need to use to record all of the donations they get and from what companies they came from. This will need to include the business name, address, phone, email and contact name. This is going to help you keep records and receipts that you can add to a donor database. Make sure you have receipts that the volunteers can give to the donors when they donate something as well.
Instruct all of your volunteers that when they go to a store to get donations for clothing that they need to make sure that they only talk to the managers. This is because a manager is the only one that is going to have the authority to allow donations to be made. If it's a smaller business you will have to instruct them to ask for the owner.
The volunteers will need to explain what they are looking for and them let them know what the items are going to be used for and explain the reason for the event. If it's for a prize, an auction or something else the volunteer should tell them how this item will enhance the fundraiser.
Once they agree to donate something the volunteer needs to fill out the donor log as well as the receipt and it needs to be done accurately. They will need to pack the item for transport as well, don't let them just throw things into a car, there should be something available for them to pack the items in.
Note: Once the volunteer has finished the donation transaction you should have them thank the donor and also ask them if they might know of any other businesses in the area or friends that might want to help with your cause. Sometimes if you get referrals from a donor the next business is more willing to give.