In an ideal world, companies would have unlimited resources to manage community giving be able to provide items at no cost. Unfortunately, this is not the case, and we see an increasing number of companies needing to offset the costs of handling requests and making donations to nonprofits--this often helps pay for postage, human resources, ticketing platforms, shipping, or a portion of the cost of goods. Some companies would not be able to donate at all without it.
If a company requires an upfront fee, DonationMatch requires the company to disclose this in their Terms and Conditions or Special Instructions, in order for you to be able to consider it prior to requesting their item. We suggest you evaluate whether the item can bring enough value to your event to justify the fee. If you are fairly certain you can earn more than what you pay, our opinion is that it is worth working with the company to ensure they can provide this value to you.
Consignment fees are also required to be disclosed in Special Instructions, and these are different in that you typically do not pay anything up front, but rather pay the consignment cost only if the item is sold or won. It is especially important to note that selling an item for less than the consignment cost is discouraged, as it will result in a cost to you. We recommend a "Reserve" price, or minimum bid amount, be set for these items.