Most of you will be involved with fundraising at some point in your lives for reasons beyond community service projects. Asking for fund surely has to be persuasive but the emotional factor needs to be dominant in your words, expressions and actions. Donors contribute voluntarily to a cause when they feel deeply attached to it. Presumably, you have your budget and action-plan set with a definite goal in mind for the project, hence for this article I'll concentrate on some basics as to how you can approach a donor/philanthropist who's likely to donate to your cause.
The first thing you need to do is be transparent about every transaction. The proposal letter, stating the project details, its modus operandi, the problems it addresses, the impact it will create and the common goal it shares with the donor, needs to be transparent. Your proposal should reflect each aspect of your project in a way which gives the donor a sense of reliability. Hence, choosing donors is very important. If your cause doesn't align with theirs, the likelihood of them sponsoring your project is next to none. Supposedly if it's a project about campaigning for saving nature and you're approaching a company who's responsible for producing plastic, it really doesn't work out.
Secondly, focus on making an appointment with the involved authorities of the organisation through a professional email or by directly approaching the organisation. Having personal contacts comes in handy at such times because they are more likely to prioritise you. Fundraising is a difficult job. Having worked in this sector for the last 20 years, Rueben Mayes said, “The reality is that there are thousands of reasons why people may or may not give you money. You have absolutely no control over that.” What most people do is overthink about it and get disappointed about the outcome. Even if you approach 19 companies for fundraising and none of them agrees to give you money, maybe the 20th will be your lucky draw. Instead of thinking that the previous 19 companies were wasteful ventures, try to get information from them that you can use to strategise your next move. Start reflecting as to how you could have done a better job.
While in the meeting, you should maintain sheer commitment to your project, show measurable outcomes/impacts and instead of roaming in circles, ask for a specific amount. Don't forget to give recognition and thank them on a continuous basis for it. It will increase your fundraising chances by folds. Finally, believe in yourself and never lose hope. Good luck.
Sajid Bin Hasnat is a 2nd year student studying Economics at BRAC University. Send him warm greetings at email@example.com