How To Form and Implement Effective Fundraising Strategies (part 2)
“I spend a lot of my time meeting people, talking to people, going to events… (Fundraising development and relationships management) means a lot of following up and a lot of it is about putting your face in their face .” – Izan Satrina, Founder of MyPAA
How funders work
When approaching a large organization, one of the things you absolutely have to understand is how they disperse funds. In large organizations, “the person you talk to is not likely to be the person releasing the money,” explains Izan. Even if this person enthusiastic about your project, he or she will still have to present your proposal to a committee or board.
At this stage, “even if your project has ticked all the boxes – it meets the organisation’s requirements and has been shortlisted, there is no guarantee.” Maybe one person on the board disagrees that the company should fund you (and it could simply be because this person is having a bad day) and you get that dreaded no. “You need to be prepared.”
The other thing many people don’t understand is that any handing over of funds requires time and paperwork on the company’s side. The amount of work is not relative to the amount of money requested – and in some cases asking for a small amount from a huge organization may actually work against you.
Newsflash: Funders owe you nothing
“Funders receive hundreds of proposals for a number of different projects, charities and causes,” says Izan. “You need to find a connection – something that makes yours stand out.”
“I spend a lot of my time meeting people, talking to people, going to events… (Fundraising development and relationships management) means a lot of following up and a lot of it is about putting your face in their face.”
Having worked extensively with funders and the people who need them, I ask Izan what common mistakes she’s seen. What actually reduces your chances of success?
“Approaching funders with a sense of entitlement,” she says at once. Even for the most motivated funder, providing resources – either money or in kind – is a choice. In fact, attitude is one of the fastest ways in which applicants shoot themselves in the foot. They walk out as soon as they hear that they will be required to do paperwork, or that they may only receive partial funds.
Keep it friendly and professional
Feeling entitled changes the dynamic of what should be an equal partnership. Izan shows me a recent message she received with should have been an invitation to enjoy a show, but instead berated her for having missed the last few. Venue owners and sponsors often get the same attitude: “You supported X and Y, why aren’t you supporting me?”
Again, managing frustration is vital to long-term relationship building and funding development. There could be very good reasons why the funders supported X and Y and not you. Or there may not. Regardless, no one likes to be made to feel guilty so remember there is always a next time. If you are a pleasure to talk to, people are more likely to pick up the phone. If talking to you spoils their day, you are more likely to be ignored.
A short pop-up preview
This December, Izan will share years of experience in a full-day session on Fundraising Development and Relationship Management. Here, Izan will talk about strategy at every level of the fundraising journey. Including:
- Raising money from different sources
- Leveraging on non-monetary support
- What makes your proposal stand out
- The first meeting with potential funders (“It’s a lot like a blind date”)
- Finding multiple angles to appeal to funders with different motivations
For more on what you’ll learn, turn to part 1 of this article. Note that the event is limited to 10 participants so register early to avoid disappointment.