non-profit

Although you’re not looking to make money on this business venture, you still need it to get your company up and running. The trouble is, you can’t entice investors by promising a return on their investment (good karma doesn’t pay the bills). So how do you get the cash you need to fund your organisation, especially in tough business times?

The Big Ask

Get out your alms cups because it’s time to ask for other people’s charity. Foundations and governments can provide key funding and grants, so check out which options are available to you. Corporate and private philanthropies may also be interested; especially if you have some sort of backing from the state. Ask around – this is fundraising.

How To Fundraise

Small non-profits often find fundraising is a hopeless situation. This is often due to spreading themselves too thin, by trying to pursue every opportunity they can. Donations from individuals can really help bolster funds, as can charging for certain services. Special events can lead to lucrative support and grassroots work also helps.

You need to prove that your non-profit business can stand up on its own two feet and will successfully make a difference. The ship (metaphorical, not actual) needs to be manned with a good, charismatic captain. He or she should be well-connected and highly qualified for the job (preferably with some experience).

You must start with a case statement. This should cover between one and two pages and display clearly why donations are needed and how this will positively affect the community. You should make it personal and engaging. Never lose sight of your mission statement.

Making Your Case

You need to explain why your business is needed and which problem you’re trying to aid. What do you hope to achieve out of it, in the end? – be specific. You must clearly define how you’re different to other organisations. How will you achieve your goals?

To help convince the third party to donate, you need to make them realise how great your business is. Let them know your major achievements to date. People can be convinced to give to successful organisations. If it looks like you’re struggling, you’ve already lost.

Give them a little history to show how you started up as a business. Discuss your philosophy and how your non-profit company works with others.

Seeing as this decision will be largely down to emotional compunction (as there’s nothing in it for the donator financially), keep things personal and compelling. Focus on the benefits for others and appeal to their altruism.

To write your statement, get the whole company on board. Any creative ideas are welcome. Ask for constructive criticism from other organisations or business friends. You may have early donors on board, so ask them for their opinion too. How can you make your business appear like an attractive venture?

As long as you provide facts, emotional tugs, and prestige benefits, you will be selling your company wisely.

For further advice on charities and non profits, click here for Barlow Robbins charity page