People who lack knowledge about fundraising often compare it with begging. Some people believe that start-ups and non-profit organizations are asking companies, state bodies, and private individuals to support their activities using the well-known technique of “outstretched hand.” In fact, fundraising is an art connected not only with attracting financial support “from outside” for the organization, but also with the search for various resources – human, technical, informational, and some others. How to master this art? In this article, we will try to answer some of the most common questions and give you some useful pieces of advice to help you create the best fundraisers that will succeed!
The Main Stages of Fundraising Campaign
Creating an effective strategy for your fundraising campaign is a complex and painstaking process, but your chances to succeed will be much higher if you understand how to prepare it step-by-step, and here is a detailed guide:
- Stage 1. Identify the main ideas and tasks that you want to resolve with the help of the received resources received and set a specific timeframe for their implementation.
- Stage 2. Collect the full information on your idea to share with the people and create strong arguments that would confirm its relevancy and originality.
- Stage 3. Analyze possible motives of potential sponsors: think which of them can be encouraged and how you can use this knowledge to enhance your strategy.
- Stage 4. Analyze the experience of fundraising (if you have any) to identify your main supporters, to whom you can turn to first and think about other people who you can contact.
- Stage 5. Prepare and multiply all additional materials that you will provide to your potential sponsors (applications, press releases).
- Stage 6. Agree on methods of fundraising within your organization.
- Stages 7 and 8 – organize the work of assistants (those who will collect donations) to make sure that they have all the necessary information and materials for their work, and establish a procedure for monitoring the received funds.
What To Do Create A Successful Campaign?
Successful fundraising is determined by a variety of factors, which are often unobvious, but not less important. The fact that many start-ups neglect the importance of these factors explains various problems that hinder the effective attraction of resources. Do you want to be successful? Then carefully read this section of the article!
1) First, the goal – then the means
Determine the objectives of fundraising as precisely as possible as this will help potential sponsors to understand how much they are interested in participating in your project, and you will reduce time and effort to persuade unpromising partners.
2) Mutual services
What can I do for these people? This is the first question to ask before meeting a potential donor or placing a project on the Internet. As a rule, everyone has some useful resources, for example, you can offer your partners the placement of information about their support on your resources, as well as in friendly media.
3) Plan a strategy!
An important factor is a competent strategy. It is necessary to make a list of potential partners and develop forms of interaction with them. It is necessary to remember the diversification of sources – some sponsors can donate serious sums of money, but negotiations with them can take months. And convincing private individuals can be an inadequate waste of time. What to do? In this case, it will be more effective to create events, promotions, and fundraising through Internet resources.
4) People have to learn about your project
For your success, it is imperative to advertise the project in the media and on the Internet because any mention of the project is an opportunity to attract new donors! How to do this? Create blog posts, articles, and increase your social presence! Quick tip: if you lack experience in writing high-quality press releases or articles, it is better to ask for the assistance of professional writers (you can click to read more). The same is applied to your company’s social media! If you have no time or just don’t understand how to increase your social presence, then hire a specialist who will take care of the social media management!
5) Set realistic goals!
Another important rule – large sums usually scare people, therefore if it is a question of finding millions, your fundraising needs to be divided into a few smaller projects.
6) Keep your partners up to date!
In the course of the project, you should always keep in touch with all those people who helped you. Answer their questions before they arise (for example, you can make an email newsletter about the project’s progress), and, after the implementation of the project, you must provide partners with a report.
What Common Mistakes To Avoid?
Unfortunately, even the best fundraising ideas that are innovative and promising can remain at the stage of idea forever, if the entrepreneur fails to organize wise campaigns. Below you can find the top three mistakes that should be avoided.
- Have a plan – there is nothing worse than the absence of a plan! If we are talking about a start-up, it is natural to have a high level of uncertainty, which means that making a detailed plan is almost impossible! However, having at least an approximate plan is a must!
- Set your goals! You must clearly understand at what stage you are – do you have an idea, do you have the first sales, is there a unit-economy, are your ideas profitable, are ready to scale the business model? Different sponsors focus on different stages. Thus, you need to turn to those investors, who focus specifically on your current stage or on a particular industry in which you are planning to work.
- Have a safety margin! Often new entrepreneurs ignore this point. However, it is very important because even if you have already agreed on investments with some organization, there is always a risk that your sponsors can change their mind or there can be a delay. If you do not have a safety margin, then any issue can ruin everything. There are many examples of companies that had to close their businesses because they could not attract the next round of investment.
About the Author:
Michael Stoddard is a freelance writer and researcher. His current objective is to help small business and startup owners around the world become successful and increase their productivity and income through participating in various grant programs and fundraising campaigns.