Fund Raising Strategies

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  1. Plan well in advance: Planning is the key and that’s why do not wait till your project comes to an end. Start planning at least a year in advance, so that you have enough time to submit application to various donors. As different donors have a funding cycle, you will not want to miss any opportunity and therefore keep enough time. You can engage team members in the fundraising exercise and allocate responsibilities for taking up different roles for example; some one can conduct donor research, while the other can develop proposals. Planning ensures that you don’t miss any deadline and all correspondence with the donor is done on a timely and proficient manner.
  2. Diversify your donors: Well if you are still stuck with traditional donors, it high time you diversify your donors. There are several new donor mechanisms in place viz. virtual funding platforms, crowd funding, CSR, individuals etc. Keep an eye on such funding windows as there is a huge potential to get funds from them. This will surely help you in engaging with multiple donors thereby enhancing your chances of funding.
  3. Share your success and impact stories with donors: Donors like to know how you have utilized their money, therefore share with them impact stories. Sharing information motivates them to support your cause in the long run. You can let the donors know that their money is being used to improve lives and with their continued support can bring about a positive change in the society.
  4. Pay special attention while writing your proposal: This is one of the most important steps towards ensuring donor engagement and receiving money from donors. The proposal should provide information on what you intend to do, what are the objectives, key activities, how will it help the cause, how much money you need etc.. As there are several organizations applying for funding, you need to develop a strong case to avail the fund. Writing a proposal forms the most important part of the fundraising plan, as it is the proposal that will decide if you will get funded or not. Some points to be kept in mind while drafting your proposal:
  • Use simple and effective language to explain your proposal. Avoid using jargons and don’t be too verbose.
  • Do not make the proposal too academic by using too much facts and figures. Use facts at only relevant places eg. Describing the issue/problem and how you intend to solve it.
  • Have a human pitch to your proposal, which simply means the proposal should show that your care about the issue. However do not make it overly emotional.
  • Follow the guidelines, format and instructions properly.
  • Clearly mention about the sustainability aspect of the project and your exit strategy from the project site.
  • Make a detailed budget reflecting how you will be utilizing the funds.
  • Ensure that your share relevant documents with the donor agency.
  • Avoid making spelling and grammatical mistakes, so share the proposal with your colleagues and get it checked thoroughly before submitting.
  1. Face to face meetings always result in better results: These days people emphasize on new methods of fundraising like use of internet, telephone and crowd funding but no matter how much technology progresses, face to face meetings are the best way to raise funds. These interactions are the best way to communicate with donors about causes you care about  and also help you to understand donors view point and their interest. Once you get the chance to speak with a donor representative make the most of this opportunity. Some of the points to remember when meeting donors are:
  • Ensure that communication is done by a person who knows about the donor agency and has good communication skills. This is your first interaction and therefore you will surely not want to ruin it.
  • Introduce your organization and the work you have done in the past. However, do not waste time in narrating long stories, be precise and to the point.
  • Avoid asking questions for which answers are available on their webpage and guidelines.
  • Listen to them patiently as suggestions by them can help you in improving your proposal.
  • Once the call/meeting comes to an end thank them for giving time, this can be done by sending them an email, immediately after your meeting or call. If they have asked for some information, provide it immediately without wasting time.
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Another great tip for both conventional and online fund raising is acknowledging your donors. Send thank you messages, share the names of your supporters in blogs, web pages and newsletters, this motivates donors to continue their support. Some leading organizations also send gifts to the donors as a thank you gesture.
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