October 18

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FUND RAISING……Make the ‘ask ’

 

Fund raising from individuals and small scale enterprises is not an easy task. Nobody wanted to throw their money to somebody who asks for funds. Instead the donors wanted to know how their money is going to be utilized. Moreover the act of donation is need to be cultivated among individuals and once the relation developed its going to be long lasting and repeated donations are purely based on frequent, purposeful follow ups.

Let’s look into the primary steps to identify and cultivate the donors. First of all a dedicated team to be formed with excellent aptitude in creating inter personnel relationships. Each team member should be highly energetic, enthusiastic to meet people and drive to achieve objectives. Primarily they should have the salesmanship or selling aptitude.

Once the sales team is formed they should be given thorough training about the products that are to be discussed with donors. They should be in a position to change the topics of discussion as per the situations and versatile in interaction. Never jump into the expectations from the donors, because giving is the end result of good donor cultivation.

Start by thinking of any companies you may have existing contact with.  Preparation of the customer list is the second step in the donor cultivation. If we are looking into the SMEs, find out the profitable companies with CSR activities which is possible by google the company profiles and arrange them by locations. In a place like Nairobi it’s not possible to meet CSR, HR or any responsible people through gate crashing. Getting an appointment through mail or phone is not possible, thus field visits are must to collect informations about the donors and their profiles. The roles of front office staff or total call practice are absolutely important in getting an appointment. Make sure you approach the right person – the store/company Manager or person responsible for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is most usual.  Do some research, find out their name and approach them personally and directly. In smaller businesses, where there is no formal CSR policy, donations are often made at the discretion of the Manager.

Once the customer list is ready with all details about profiles of the decision makers and companies next step is donor mapping and discovering their beliefs about donations. Why should I donate? What is my benefit? Such questions are to be answered with customer focused selling approach. The sales team should possess very good patience, excellent listening ability, should be ready with solutions for his problems with facts and figures. Most of the time it is not possible to have a definite outcome in the initial 3 to 4 visits. But frequent follow ups and visits required to be successful in the efforts of donor cultivation.

Only around half of all company giving is in cash and it is often easier to persuade a local business, particularly one that you may not have had much contact with before, to give you something tangible than it is to convince them to give you money. Asking for items to auction or offer as raffle prizes is often a good approach – restaurants can be asked to donate a dinner for two or local grocers might be persuaded to offer a hamper.

Where appropriate, think about what you are prepared to offer in return, such as public acknowledgement or publicity opportunities.  Most companies give out of self-interest rather than pure altruism, and it is important to remember this when approaching them.  If you are asking for sponsorship, think about why a company would want to be associated with you – this could include positive publicity so bring along any press cuttings or correspondence indicating media interest.  Many smaller local businesses may be unaware of the tax advantages available in connection with charitable gifts, so make sure you are prepared to tell them!

Make the ‘ask’

A letter outlining what you are doing, what it is you are asking for, and why a company should think about supporting you is often a good starting point – see ‘Further Information’ below for some templates you can adapt. Adequate handouts, visual aids to be prepared for the benefit of NGO activity more popular among publichand-out-1.

 

Follow up with a telephone call a week or two later, allowing time for the recipient to familiarize themselves with your ‘ask’.  If you are looking for something substantial, this may be a good opportunity to suggest a meeting to discuss how any partnership might work.

Remember to say ‘thank you’ and report back on how a company’s support has made a difference.  This not only prepares the ground for any future donations, but also helps ensure the reputation of the charity and fundraising in general.