The 5 Ws of Fund Raising

To be successful at fundraising, it takes training in special skill sets, conviction, motivation and real hard work. And, if you are just starting out, you need to ask yourself the 5 core questions of fund-raising in order to prepare yourself.

Why am I raising funds and why would someone donate?

The first step is to figure out why you need the money and why would someone donate.

Is the need a short term one for an immediate requirement of the project or is it a fairly long term one to help sustain the program for a few years or is it for the corpus; so that you are able to use your discretion in spending the funds in your program?

Once you’ve narrowed down your need, it will be easy for you to prepare your request accordingly.

It is always good to understand why anyone would donate at all. People donate because they feel for a particular cause, because of the feel good factor and because their peers are donating.

If your organisation has a good cause and a good reputation, you’re likely to find more willing donors. It is good to be transparent because not many people are sure of where their funds are going in a donation. When they hear about your organisation from other donors, they’re more likely to invest in it.

What are my donors looking for?

Donors are on the lookout for an NGO with a cause that aligns with their values. They usually don’t donate to any charity unless it’s something that they strongly believe in.

They’re also most likely to donate to an NGO of repute, and one that’s different or has a unique mission compared to other institutions. Of thousands of NGOs working for a particular cause be it education, livelihood, hunger & malnutrition…… what makes your NGO different or special?

Also, the donated amount is exempted from tax, and that’s a lucrative offer for donors trying to reduce their tax burden.

Who is willing to donate and whom do I take money from?

There are a number of sources from where you can procure funds. Some of these are corporations, individuals, foundations, living communities, government and international agencies, and various other institutions.

When you’re deciding who to take money from, choose a donor who seems the most ethical. Not only will this create positive PR, but it will also reinforce the ethical standards of your initiatives.

Where do I reach my donors?

Instead of researching and contacting donors one by one, build a database of different kinds of donors and contact each of them separately.

You can do this by visiting online directories to find their contact information. Compile a list of people you think would be willing to help and get in touch with them at the right time.

When to ask?

Most often, the way to guarantee funds is to ask your donor at an opportune moment. For example, festive seasons are a great time to put forth a request for donations. That’s when people are most likely to give you the money that you need.

If you’re asking a corporation, it’s good to ask them while they’re preparing their CSR budget for the coming financial year, so that they can factor it into their annual spending.

Keep in mind that you have to research your donor thoroughly and always keep donations on the record.

Also, remember that these are just the basic questions, the mere first steps to creating an effective fund-raising plan that you will need to prepare, in order to raise funds for any Not-for- Profit organisation.