In today’s digital age, the process of fundraising continues to go through a myriad of changes. Most recently, we’ve seen the implementation of the JOBS ACT completely transform how entrepreneurs and investors build companies. Crowdfunding has even opened a new window for charities and individuals to quickly raise money for what they’re passionate about.
No matter what bucket you fall into, it’s important to realize the technology and generational shifts that are happening, and prepare yourself to compete in the new fundraising age. Fortunately, having more tools and transparency today gives us a HUGE advantage in quickly reaching a wide audience for free or very little money at all.
If you are responsible for fundraising, below are 5 steps you can take to becoming a Fundraising Master:
1. Change your mindset
Fundraising isn’t begging, it’s selling.
Selling your startup, selling your vision, selling your program, selling your mission. As fundraisers, it’s easy to position ourselves in a way that feels like we’re begging for help or hoping to “catch a break”. In reality, we’re trying to demonstrate enough value to motivate an investor, customer or donor to bet on us. This is selling. Think about “your story” and create confidence and camaraderie around the movement you've started.
2. Organize and Strategize
Use online tools and your calendar.
AngelList and GUST are great platforms that allow you to research and prospect potential investors. Fundraising platforms for nonprofits like WeDidIt help you organize your fundraising assets, and implement a clear strategy to reaching your funding goal. The tools out there are abundant, it’s now your responsibility to effectively leverage these things during the oh-so-busy workweek. One great strategy is to limit exactly what you do for each day of the week. For example, Mondays are for building lists, and Tuesdays are for emailing prospective donors. For more strategies, check out the WeDidIt guide to successful online fundraising.
3. Identify your target. Aim...set...fire!
Fundraise from the people mostly likely to “get it”.
Just like in sales, not everyone is your customer. In fundraising, you’re better off appealing to the kinds of people who are likely to donate, than the novice “spray and pray” approach. While it’s easy to simply blast everyone, limited time and resources suggest you need to focus. Build as long of a list of prospect as you can, and replenish the list with new prospects early and often. But use discipline to limit the list to the people most likely to say “yes, shut up and take my money”.
4. Use teamwork
Leverage your network to produce momentum.
Fundraising can definitely be a team sport. Especially if it's for a nonprofit or charitable cause. Dividing the fundraising responsibility amongst several committed people can be motivating and relatively easier than shouldering the burden yourself. Even as a startup CEO, there are things your teammates can do to make your fundraising from investors more efficient. Building targeted lists, writing periodic updates, or connecting you with contacts within their own social networks. Take a moment to determine how the talented folks around you can boost your efforts or share the fundraising responsibility by spearheading a few clearly defined tasks.
5. Be patient, but methodical
The best fundraisers create momentum over time.
The rigors of pounding the pavement for donors or investors definitely can take its toll...psychologically, emotionally and physically. But you’ll find that consistent adherence to your plan will afford you momentum that will allow your fundraising to become increasingly more effective as you move forward. It won’t happen immediately, so consider a long-term perspective when you’re fundraising and prepare accordingly. Even in a campaign style fundraiser, working diligently until the last day sends a strong signal to your teammates that it’s not over until the clock hits 0.00. And because people often procrastinate even under deadline, you should be prepared to wrangle the large majority of your funding goal in the finals days/weeks of your campaign.
WeDidIt continually shares the fundraising tips and strategies our customers have had the most success with. For more help on your upcoming fundraiser or fundraising ideas, contact us for a free assessment with one of our fundraising coaches.