One of the most frequent inquiries I get is from people wanting to know how to raise money. They’ve got this project that helps so-and-so with such-and-such. Or so-and-so needs help with this-and-that. And the projects run the gamut: from established nonprofits and associations to nonprofit start-ups, events, films, and documentaries.
What most don’t understand is that each of them already has everything he or she needs to start raising money. The process is really quite simple, but most make it much more difficult than it needs to be, especially if the people who are responsible for fundraising (either because they believe strongly in the cause, have a self-interest, were hired to do it, or were roped into it) don’t like to do fundraising.
(I was amazed at a recent study that found that a lot of major gift officers don’t like to ask for money. Really?)
It doesn’t matter if you’re raising money for the local Red Cross, the girl’s soccer team, a music video, or documentary, the steps are the same. The fundraising process can be boiled down to the following steps. Of course you can add steps, expand activities within each step, rearrange the order, get carried away with training and planning. But the basic outline remains the same.
- Write a sentence or two explaining why you need money.
- Make a list of people that could make a gift because they have (or you suspect they have) an interest in the reason you’re raising money. Keep it to 12 people. And don’t include businesses or foundations. They get too many requests already. Just leave them alone.
- Determine how much money each person could give.
- Sort the list from largest amount to smallest.
- Start at the top of the list and go ask each person for the amount you’ve predetermined.
- When you finish with those 12, revise your description and create a new list.
You could start this today and raise a bunch of money by the end of the week. If you’re determined enough. If you’re persistent enough. If you’re committed enough. Notice I didn’t say “connected enough” or “savvy enough” or “smart enough”. You don’t need those things to raise money. You need passion and a plan.
Here’s the plan. Where’s your passion?