Classic Fundraising Scenario:
You’ve sent out 100 funding proposals to high net worth individuals, foundations, corporations as well as County and City entities. Now what? The response is that they want to see a track record and results before they will fund. The challenge is that you need funds to operate a program in order to gain a track record and results in order to attract funders.
How can you accomplish this?
Possible Solutions to gaining funding for first program:
- Can you operate one prototype program on a small budget or no budget?
- Can you personally fund it?
- Can you ask your newly formed Board for assistance?
- Are there program supplies or services that can be donated instead of purchased?
- Are there businesses that would be willing to donate office or program space for you to conduct your programs?
- Who in your personal circle of friends would be willing to provide seed funding?
- Are there local foundations or funders who specifically like to fund new programs?
Steps to gaining a track record
- Gain resources (products, services, cash, etc.) to be able to operate the program
- Operate prototype program
- Gain track record and results
- Present to potential funders
- Receive funding to operate additional programs
More likely than not, your first donations are going to come from individuals who believe in you and the organization. You may collect $25 checks from many people. However, do not ask for the same amount from everyone.
There is a common fundraising mistake when Executive Directors say: If everyone in this community just gave $1, we would have enough funds to operate our programs. First of all, not everyone is going to give, so you can’t assume $1 from each person. And some people can give more than $1. It would be a shame to leave “money on the table.” Create individual asks and ask amounts for each person and you are sure to be more effective with your fundraising!