Freeman Cebu Business

Fund Raising 101 - Second Leg

BUSINESS AFTER BUSINESS - Romelinda Garces - The Freeman

In my last article, I attempted to share with you some of my thoughts on raising the needed support for our different events.

It is important to study your possible donors before you send them your letters. It would also be best to get to know the target sponsor and the person to contact so you may be able to inquire and match their priorities with your need.

Sometimes we greatly believe in our event and what it wants to achieve. That is good. It is easier to market an activity that you believe in. It is like selling a product that you yourself buy and use. But we also have to consider the other end. What is their belief? Their line of business? Is the business in consonance with your cause? What will they gain from participating in your event?

Another point is, how many times have you called on this sponsor? How has their support been? Sometimes your source may be in a hard lock that is why they cannot support as they usually do. At other times, it could be their priorities have changed. It could also be that their expectations in the previous engagement, were not met. Or they may want to beg off from your request because of donor fatigue.  Asking from the same donor every time may make them feel abused. If so, you may have to schedule your asking. Perhaps ask less sometimes, as you continue to give the best you can within the range of promises you place in the package. Always make your supporter feel you find them important. Be sensitive as well to their current condition.

If they refuse, do not be affronted. Just reschedule.  They may support you some other time.  But put in some space.

Give your sponsor the idea of what your event is. Who are the expected audience or participants and how many. Give them a picture of what to expect in not so many words. Lengthy letters also tend to bore the recipient. Make your letter short, simple and clear. The details can be part of the attachment. If you catch their attention, they will look at the details.

Never forget to place your contacts as you find out how to reach them as well. You may need to make a call or set an appointment to further discuss your proposal. If the target sponsors are interested, they will give you their time and attention and may even call you back to update you.  Otherwise, after a second call, they may either refuse or simply show no interest. Sense when not to push. Hard selling your event diminishes its appeal.

Fund-raising is hard to do but the main key is to find out again, first your need, where you can source the answer to this need, and whether your source may also have a need that you can provide an answer for.

For instance, they may be new and may want to be known. Then give them the publicity they need.  Or they may be an established member of the business community and may want to just be low key, then respect the privacy they want you to uphold. At times like this, what they may be after is the goodwill and the feeling of being able to give back.

I find this in most non-government initiatives when a business supports a project for farmers or fisherfolk or a marginalized sector. The business owners are happy enough when after their support they receive a basket of vegetables or a bottle of produce from a supported group.  It gives them a sense of accomplishment and that invaluable feeling of being able to help others help themselves. Again, the key is matching their desire with your program.

There are also times that you will find yourself ending up in another avenue.  Instead of generating funds, you may find a distributor or a market of a community’s produce. We cannot limit the possibilities of our adventures right. And fund raising may change its perspective and become FUN raising.

To end, it is important to establish relations with people. Not just because you want to gain something from them. But because one day, you may want them to share your passion for a good cause.

In all these things, always be grateful.

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