Wegmans Food Markets, which gets 30,000 donation requests annually, has introduced a new online process for donation and sponsorship requests. Written requests, whether delivered in person, or by mail, e-mail or fax, are no longer accepted.
To submit a request, people can click on “Donation Requests” on the “Community Giving” section of Wegmans’ website and fill in the blanks. The online application collects all the information needed, routes it to the proper place and confirms that the application has been received.
The online donation process additionally enables people to check on the status of a request, shows a history of each donation applied for by a group, and allows requests to be submitted at any time, from any computer.
“It’s a big improvement from lots of angles,” said Wegmans Community Relations Manager Linda Lovejoy. “It cuts out at least 30,000 pieces of paperwork, it’s more convenient for those requesting help, and it eliminates delays that missing information can cause. Our people have more time to strategize with organizations to find the best match between what they need and what we can offer them.”
The new system, which was phased in over several months, “has gone very smoothly,” noted Lovejoy. “The questions that have popped up have been minor and easy to resolve.” For those who lack Internet access for submitting a request, customer service desks have lists of where to find computers nearby that are for public use, such as those in local libraries.
Added Lovejoy: “We respond to every request, usually in a phone call, and we look to build a relationship. Even when we decline a request, we try to connect organizations with others who can help in the community.”
According to Lovejoy, Wegmans helps out organizations in various ways, “from product donations to checks or gift cards, and there are many people empowered to act on donation requests, from the stores to the corporate offices.”
Last year, the combined totals for giving by the Rochester, N.Y.-based grocer, its customers and its employees topped $16 million.
Family-owned Wegmans operates 81 grocery stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts.