7 steps to successful fundraising

October 2, 2023
Christina Cullen

Whether you run a for-profit business or a non-profit organisation, your fundraising efforts should always have a fundraising strategy. Here are seven steps to help you get closer to your fundraising goals.

For years, fundraising has been associated primarily with non-profit organisations and their solicitation of donations and financial support from individuals, corporations, foundations or governments to fund their activities. But nowadays, we hear the word fundraising more frequently also for projects and startups that want to raise funds to implement their business ideas.

In essence, fundraising is the perfect combination of art, heart and technique. A fundraiser doesn't just raise funds. Fundraisers build and nurture relationships to create awareness and gain loyal partners who support your mission, project or idea and make it their own. Fundraising is more than a sales pitch: it is a process for building long-term partnerships between organisations, donors and communities, and in the case of businesses, between entrepreneurs, investors and stakeholders.

Here are seven steps to help you achieve success in your fundraising...

1. Set SMART objectives:

Clarity is key: as for any strategy, it is crucial to set a SMART fundraising goal that is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and within a time frame.

2. Analyze the resources of your organisation:

The resources of an organisation or company are diverse and include: people as a human resource, experience, reputation, good name, your achievements, your financial resources, your intellectual resources, among others. Remember that you are the best ambassador of your brand, and an internal organisational analysis will help you identify where you are as an organisation and how you are creating value for others. Knowing the answers to these questions will allow you to position yourself as an attractive partner to potential donors and investors: they will be drawn to you, wanting to support your mission.

3. Analyse your market:

Analysing key trends and existing developments in the market you navigate is a constant exercise that will allow you to identify opportunities and challenges that might otherwise be missed. At the same time, it allows you to learn from other business models and best practices applied by your competitors. This will allow you to stay up to date and motivated to provide the best solutions to your customers.

4. Identify your best funding sources:

Only when you understand your environment and where you are as an organisation can you begin to identify the type of partnerships you should develop and the partners you want for your organisation. How fundraising goes beyond the "act of asking for money" and encompasses building long-term relationships, you will be able to identify your best sources of funding in your environment and in the areas in which you are truly known. Currently, the most common areas for fundraising are foundations, governments, individual donors, impact investors, as well as partnerships with companies through cause marketing and co-branding.

5. Map your potential partners/donors:

Fundraising is a process and, as with any process, you must allocate time, energy and resources to it to see results. Map and profile your best potential partners, those with whom you can see your organisation grow, where you can make the difference between receiving a one-time support/investment and/or building a long-term relationship. Get to know your potential ally, donor, investor and position yourself as a solid partner.

6. Write down your action plan:

What is not written down and planned tends to be forgotten. Writing a strategy gives your team and your organisation clarity and focus. It allows you to document your initiatives and adjust what is not working. A detailed action plan should identify the best areas to raise funds from and the steps to get there.

7. Test, monitor, evaluate, repeat:

A fundraising strategy is a living document and, as such, needs to be constantly reviewed. It needs to be tested, monitored and evaluated on an ongoing basis. Keeping a good record of contacts, documenting best practices and sharing lessons with your entire team will put you in a stronger position as an attractive fundraising organisation.

If you would like to find out how we can help you achieve these seven steps, get in touch today.

This blog was written by our LATAM Director, Karina Sandoval-Boonstra and originally published in Spanish by our LATAM partners Funds4impact.

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