Every year The Urban Grape gives over $40,000 in charitable donations to the communities surrounding our two stores. We could not do this without the dedication of our amazing staff, especially Chelsea, who organize and work our donated events as part of their already busy schedules.
We’ve recently tweaked the UG donation process. Here you will find everything you need to know about asking for, and receiving a donation from The Urban Grape.
1. All donation requests must come in the form of a donation request form, located on the contact us page of our website. You can scan and email, mail, or drop off a donation request form. In-person, email and mail requests without a donation form cannot be considered.
2. Customers of The Urban Grape receive priority over cold approaches. If your email comes with the greeting “To Whom It May Concern” you probably will not see your request fulfilled (coming from a fundraising background I am still shocked at how many of these I get!).
3. Organizations in and around the areas of the stores get first priority. We try to help schools, PTAs, churches/synagogues, and other community-based organizations first. Then we go from there.
4. After we’ve donated to our neighbors, we look for organizations with a cause that means something to us and our staff. These generally fall into a few basic categories: Access to food/education/basic necessities for underserved communities, rescue organizations for animals, organizations that support the LGBT community, and the arts.
5. Unfortunately, after we get through all of this there is very little left over for communities outside of Newton, Brookline, Boston and sometimes Cambridge. If you are sending me a request for an organization in Norwood, it probably will not get filled – not because we don’t think your organization is worthy, but because we simply can’t fulfill every request.
5. In general, we give three kinds of donations: gift cards in varying amounts (8-10 per month); in-store wine tasting parties for 20 on a Sunday, Monday or Tuesday night (4-6 per month); or – our biggie – a free wine cellar consultation with TJ, with a first purchase discount (4-6 per month).
***If you’d like to approach us about another idea, we are always game for creative ways to work together that will drive awareness and business to The Urban Grape while raising money for your organization. Feel free to pitch us. Remember – I come from a corporate philanthropy background and I like partnerships!
6. We do not donate product to events. We do offer all non-profit organizations a good discount on our beverage catering wines and free delivery within our delivery radius. You should ask for this via the donation request form.
7. We do not donate in-home wine tasting parties. If you bid on and win an in-store wine tasting party, please do not ask us to then turn it into a Saturday night in-home wine tasting party.
8. The in-store wine tasting parties have an expiration of six months from the date of the fundraising event.
9. We give out our gift cards, in-store party donations, and free wine cellar consultations an average of 8 weeks ahead of scheduled events. That means we are now working on May events. If you ask us for a donation a week before your event, we usually are not able to fulfill it.
10. BOSTON MARATHON: At the start of every year, we double and sometimes triple our gift card donations to accommodate marathon fundraising requests. Please know that we try to help everyone, but we are absolutely inundated. To keep it fair, everyone gets gift cards, except for one or two great customers who might get in-store fundraising events. At a certain point, we just have to say no to the marathon requests. Sadly, we are reaching that point for the 2014 Marathon.
11. Starting in March, Joseph is now helping me (Hadley) to organize and respond to all the donation requests we receive. You can still address them to me, put ultimately they need to end up in Joseph’s hands. He works days at the South End store, Tuesday through Saturday. That said you can email or drop them off to just about anyone and they will make their way to Joseph. If you send me an email or letter, please don’t be surprised if you hear back from Joseph. I’m still involved, just learning to delegate!
12. Joseph and I meet every two weeks to make determinations on the donation requests. So if you don’t hear anything for a couple of weeks, don’t panic. But again, get those requests to us well in advance of your event.
We’re so happy to be a business our customers can count on to fulfill their donation requests. We hope these guidelines help you as your plan your fundraising event. Happy philanthropy!