Fundraising Fundamentals for Non-Profit Organizations Intel ISEF Educator Academy Pittsburgh – May 2012 Robert Glidden, President Emeritus Ohio University California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
Outline • Building the Case • Preparation • The Written Proposal • The Visit/Interview • Follow-Up • Other Questions
Building the Case • The “case” is your rationale for funding: why do you need funds and why is your project worthy for this prospective donor? • A good case includes… • the objectives of the project, • a timeline, • a budget that shows the need for funding, and • any other support that you anticipate for the project.
Building the Case (2) • If your project is singular, i.e., a one-time event, when will it be completed and how will you measure whether it is successful? • Is this a multiple-year project? • If so, are you requesting help to initiate the project only, or to carry it through to completion? • If your request is for funds to initiate only, what is your plan for sustaining the project to completion?
Building the Case (3) • Is your request for endowment—funds that will be invested and held in perpetuity? If so, how will the funds be invested and for what purpose will the earnings be used? • Or is your request for general, ongoing operating costs? • Most foundations and many corporations will have specific guidelines that inform whether or not they will fund ongoing operational costs or endowments
Preparation • Whether Foundation, Corporation, or Individual… • What do we know about the prospective donor’s interests? • Why should this prospective donor fund our project? • Has the donor made any contribution to our particular cause in the past? • Has the donor shown interest or made contributions to science projects in the past?
Preparation (2) • And further… • Is the donor interested in education, in young people? • What other causes has the prospective donor funded? • If the prospective donor is local, is there a preference for local projects? • Do we have a personal contact who can help us “enter the door”?
Finding Foundations • The Foundation Center • New York City, with field offices in… • Atlanta • Cleveland • San Francisco • Washington • The Online Foundation Directory • <http://foundationcenter.org/findfunders/fundingsources/fdo.html>
The Written Proposal • Check the funder’s guidelines – follow them! • Briefly describe your organization, including its history • Give a broad overview of the project for which you seek funding • Follow with details, especially about the element(s) within the total project for which you seek funding • Define how you will measure success and how you will report the project to the funder
The Written Proposal (2) • Explain why your project may be of benefit to society or to a larger audience beyond your organization • Look professional in format and appearance, as well as in content • Be attentive to format, spacing, overall appearance—leave ample white space…at the borders, between paragraphs, between sections • Have the proposal read and reviewed by someone in your organization who is particularly “fussy” about such matters
The Visit or Interview • Again, check the funder’s guidelines, but make every effort to arrange a personal visit to present your proposal • Who should participate in the interview? • Someone who is thoroughly knowledgeable (and passionate) about the project • Preferably two people or at most three • Each person on the interview team should have a specific purpose or reason for being there
The Visit or Interview (2) • Have a plan for the conversation—know the most important points you want to make and in what order • Remember that a good fundraiser is a good listener! Don’t try to do all the talking • Success sometimes depends on the donor’s opportunity to be involved in the project • Practice what you will say, how you will behave, if the donor indicates little or no interest in your project
The Ask • Timing and degree of subtlety will depend on the type of donor • A corporation or foundation knows exactly why you are there—timing is still important but subtlety is not • An individual donor should have been informed about the purpose of your visit in advance, but still may not perceive that you are expecting an answer on the first meeting • Individual donors may not be experienced givers—they may require more time to think about the proposal
The Ask (2) • If the prospective donor is a corporation or foundation, the requested funding will have been specified in the proposal…but you may still need to justify the amount and be prepared to answer questions about what a lesser amount would accomplish • For an individual donor, it is often best not to put the requested funding in writing in advance • In that case, the “ask” might be posed as, “Would you consider funding this project in the amount of $XXX?” • Never “undersell”—don’t ask for too little
Concluding the Interview • Be gracious, no matter the donor’s response • Leave something behind for the donor’s file—an amendment to the proposal, a one-page summary of the project, a brochure about your organization, even just a business card • Announce how you will follow up, which will depend on the donor’s response
Follow-Up • A follow-up letter, thanking the prospective donor for time and attention, is a must! • Depending on the donor’s response, a follow-up call, 10 days to two weeks following the visit, is important • If you have promised anything to the donor, or if the donor has requested any additional information, be sure to make note of that and follow up accordingly
Keeping Track • Following a visit or interview, ASAP, always make a report for your file, indicating any new information learned, any nuances about the donor’s response, any suggestions for future approaches to this donor • Be judicious about what you put in a written report—stick to the important points or to details that will help this relationship in the future • If you were accompanied by others, discuss reactions, responses with them and combine all comments in one report
Your Attitude/Approach • Be an ambassador for your organization—make friends both for yourself and for your organization • Be prepared to sellyour idea—sincere passion for a project is noticed and appreciated! • During the visit, listen…and focus on the donor—make notes later • Be attentive to your dress and appearance—better to be slightly overdressed than underdressed
Your Attitude/Approach (2) • Honor every gift and every intent to give—a $1,000 gift from one donor may be more of a commitment than $1,000,000 from another • Never be embarrassed or shy about asking for money for a worthy project in which you believe passionately…and for which you would give yourself
Multiple-Year Funding • Depends on guidelines for corporations or foundations—some have a policy against multiple-year funding • Others may fund for three or five years maximum • Multiple-year funding is often requested for operating costs, and some foundations or corporations will give to specific projects, but not general operating costs
Gifts-in-Kind • Science equipment is perhaps one of the easiest gifts-in-kind to procure • Companies can realize a tax advantage for making gifts of equipment that has been replaced and that they no longer use • Someone in a school or organization has to make the need known and be in contact with people in a corporation who know what the possibilities might be • Once the need or interest in such equipment is known, or once a relationship with a company has been established, the realization of such gifts is more likely
Other “Non-Cash” Gifts • Organizations sometimes need smaller goods or services, e.g., printing or prizes, that local businesses can provide if approached properly • The business person needs to know what difference the item(s) will make in the success of your project • Decide how the business will be recognized for such gifts, but ask the business person before assuming • Personal contact—a personal “ask” is essential
Involving Funders • Funders will remain more committed to a project or organization if they get personally involved—personal involvement leads to greater knowledge about the organization or project • Make it easy for people to help—don’t waste their time—be sensitive about their schedules • Most volunteers will have no idea what kind of help you need, so you will need a plan for how they can help
Getting Science Fair Volunteers • If approaching colleges or universities for Science Fair volunteers… • Define the need in writing so that it can be distributed in science departments—some faculty members may not volunteer because they think the time commitment is greater than it is • Make contact with the appropriate level, depending on the size and type of institution • Follow up with a brief letter of recognition/thanks to the department chair or dean of the faculty members who volunteer
Other Questions… • Social Media – how to use it • Get your students involved—ask them for ideas • More likely to help with fundraising events than individual proposals • Recognizing and thanking investors in creative ways • The recognition has to fit the investor—some like recognition, others don’t • Some say that in fundraising, seven expressions of thank you are not too many • Letters from students who have benefited is always effective, particularly if they sound spontaneous and not coached
Thank You Questions? Comments? Ideas? email@example.com