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Charitable Contributions - Frequently Asked Questions

Eligibility

Do we have to be a tax-exempt organization to apply?

Yes. We only consider IRS registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations.

Are your donations/grants limited to any one geographical area?

Costco focuses on supporting charitable programs and community activities in the markets where we do business. All 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations focusing on children, education, and/or health and human services are eligible to apply for consideration, regardless of their distance from our locations.

How do I know if my organization or program is eligible?

Organizations must meet the following general requirements to apply for Costco support:

  • Must be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization
  • Focus on supporting children, education, and/or health and human services
  • Monetary requests only
Costco accepts and reviews funding requests throughout the year on a rolling basis, and organizations are eligible to submit one application per fiscal year (Sep-Aug).

When does Costco Wholesale accept donation requests?

Costco accepts and reviews funding requests throughout the year on a rolling basis.

Applying for Support

How do I apply for a Costco donation?

The first step is to determine that your organization fits within Costco Wholesale's Charitable Contributions guidelines (see eligibility). Once you have read all of our stated guidelines as well as our frequently asked questions and believe your organization falls within these parameters, you are welcome to review our three giving options to determine the appropriate level for your organization’s request.

What if my request is time-sensitive?

For planned fundraising events or programs with specific dates and timelines - a lead time of at least 3 months, prior to your program or event, will allow us to give timely consideration to your request.

What level of giving should I choose?

Based on the size and scope of your organization/program, please see our two giving options below to determine the appropriate level for your request:

Where do I send my donation request?

Is all the requested information required for the initial request?

All requested information is required to evaluate an application. Incomplete applications will not be considered or returned.

What is Costco Wholesale's review process?

Once a donation request has been submitted, it is initially determined whether the organization falls within Costco Wholesale’s Charitable Guidelines. For submissions that qualify, review times vary depending on the application level chosen:

Warehouse Donations:
Warehouse donations are handled at the warehouse level - please consult your local warehouse for up-to-date information regarding their donations contacts and review process.

Grant Applications
If the request is under consideration, you may be contacted by staff for any additional information needed. Applications are reviewed within 4-6 weeks, and decisions are made based on several factors, including: type of program; identified community need not otherwise available; indication that evidenced based data will establish measurable results of intended outcomes; community collaboration; broad base of financial support; project budget and operating expenses.

Note: While we would like to respond favorably to all requests, understandably, the needs are far greater than our allocated resources and we are unable to accommodate them all.

How will I be contacted regarding the status of my request?

Your organization will receive a postcard, letter, phone call, or email, generally within 4-6 weeks from the submission of your request. Please make certain the correct contact information is listed on your request.

How do I check on the status of my request?

Please see information regarding “Costco Wholesale’s Review Process” first, and make certain the correct contact information is listed on your request. If your organization has not heard from Costco within 6 weeks of your submission, see our “Contact Information” section below for more details.

Note: Due to the large volume of charitable requests and general inquiries we receive, it can be a challenge for us to respond to all status check inquiries.

General Questions

Is there a dollar limit for approved grants?

Typical award sizes vary, but organizations should not submit proposals for more than 10% of their program's overall budget. For new applicants, we advise submitting conservative requests.

May my organization apply for more than one donation request per year?

We typically do not consider more than one donation request per fiscal year (September - August) for each organization. Please review our three giving options to determine the most appropriate level for your organization’s request, and submit accordingly.

What does Costco consider "overhead"?

Please see Overhead Calculation Document for how to calculate the organization's overhead percentage.

Can we acknowledge our Costco Wholesale sponsored donation?

Because Costco Wholesale does not seek recognition for our contributions to our communities, we ask for your cooperation in partnering with us prior to any public statements, whether in print or otherwise, which would recognize our contribution. We ask that any organization contact us with any questions regarding proposed Costco recognition.

Contact Information

Due to the large volume of charitable requests we receive, it can be a challenge for us to accommodate and respond to all inquiries. For the most up-to-date information on our processes, please review our charitable giving guidelines, FAQs, and application forms. Most - if not all - answers to our charitable processes can be found via these online resources. After reviewing the available information, should you still have questions please see contact information below. (note: for application-related questions only)

Warehouse Donations

Grant Applications/Community Relations Department: