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How to Get Small Amounts of Funding for Non-Profits

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Elmer Thomas Jr.
Many people I have talked with about non-profit fundraising seem to focus on the large sponsorship opportunities. While that is the ultimate goal, there are many opportunities to get help at smaller levels that can eventually lead to the large sponsorships. If you have a non-profit and your fundraising is stalled, read on.

Create the Value Proposition

Understand what value is present for both the sponsor and the people the non-profit serves. Here are some items to consider:

  • What will you offer the sponsor?
  • Number of eyeballs
  • Exposure to influential people and media
  • Branding
  • Generate a book of testimonials and make it readily available to the sponsor.
  • Tailor your message to the sponsor in terms of the benefit to the sponsor.
  • Have a list of testimonials from previous sponsors.
  • Mention current sponsors.
  • Clearly explain what the sponsorship will be used for.

Build Your List

Based on the value proposition, you are now ready to build a list of potential sponsors. Here are some suggestions for building that list:

  • Previous sponsors.
  • Call previous sponsors and ask for referrals.
  • Visit online communities that relate to your value proposition and see who is sponsoring them.
  • Ask non-profits that are working toward your same goals about who is sponsoring them.
  • Use press releases < http://tinyurl.com/4rxzey  > to call for sponsors and direct them to your website (or phone number) where they can enter their information.

Create a Script

I don't recommend that you read from a script when calling on potential sponsors; however, it will be helpful to write out what you want to say. Write several different scripts with the same underlying message.

Practice

Once you have written out your scripts, memorize them and practice in front of the mirror. Be sure to smile, standing up can help also (use this method when making the actual calls also). Then call on some friends and ask them for a critique as you "cold call" them.

Review ideas about taking the cold out of cold calls < http://tinyurl.com/4nqpwz />.

Execute & Record

Before you begin calling, use a CRM system < http://tinyurl.com/8mvkn > to help you manage. In this case, I recommend ZohoCRM < http://www.zohocrm.com  > because it is free for three users and has all the power you need. If that sounds daunting, then start with a simple spreadsheet < http://docs.google.com  >.

Here are some key data points that you need to record for each call:

  • Contact information
  • Name and contact information of the decision maker
  • Script used
  • Result of call
  • Follow up date

At the end of each day, review your notes, and think of ways that you can improve.

Follow Up

Persistence and determination can go a long way in making things happen. Make sure to set a contact follow up date in your system < http://tinyurl.com/3xkbnc  > after each call. Remember that timing is key. Many times the person you are talking to may be under serious stress or simply just in a bad mood.

Elmer Thomas Jr. is Co-founder of IER Solutions, Inc., an award winning web and software development company dedicated to bridging the digital divide and ATL Innovations, Inc., an online innovation company. You can find out more about Mr. Thomas at ThinkingSerious.com.


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