I'm the founder a non-profit Christian startup ministry. Our vision is to share the gospel using modern technology. We are currently building tools with which we hope to enable people know more about Jesus. More specifically, we are building a social network targetted at Christians (www.loverealm.org) and we hope to enable Christians know each other better with this. By building Christian connections, we hope to further leverage our platform to reach out to more people for Christ.
The project has so far been funded from my personal savings (which have been exhausted), plus funds raised from family and friends. It's darn expensive paying programers, plus running ads and maintaining our facebook page. Our MVP for the network will launch in about 10 weeks or so, and I'm convinced that we will run into a few millions users within few months of launch. Considering server space and all the other costs, this project can't keep running on family and friends. How do we raise funds?
I've really already thought about receiving money from investors, but the thing is, we are so passionate about preaching that, my young team and I are worried about the damage it might cause to us; considering the fact that investors will need a ROI, plus it will shift our vision from preaching, to making money. I already unsuccessfully tried 2 crowd-funding campaigns (that was without our MVP). Our focus is not to make money, but to preach; but we obviously need money to fund the preaching. Please advise....God bless you all...
Unlike a for-profit business, you cannot promise investors a return on their investment or look to future sales to provide a profit. You ask foundations and government agencies and corporations for grants to support specific programs and projects.
The overall term for this asking is fundraising. Many small non-profits have trouble raising money because they pursue every conceivable opportunity, thereby diluting their efforts and losing sight of their mission. Fundraising involves all acts of soliciting donations for a non-profit agency. While these are not charitable donations, they can be a significant source of funds for a new non-profit.
Most start-up non-profits are limited to seeking donations from individuals and special events. In any case, fundraising starts simply enough. The case statement makes the case for making the donation, provides the basis for collateral material, and helps keep the message of your non-profit consistent and compelling. Without a clear case statement, your message will be muddled and lost.
It is longer than an elevator speech but much shorter than a business or strategic plan. The overriding purpose of the case statement is to persuade the potential donor to open his or her check book and donate to your non-profit. To make it more effective, personalize the case statement. Sometimes this is called seeking a «poster child» for the organization.
Accordingly, you want to put a face on the organization's beneficiaries. An after-school program will help a young woman avoid trouble, a dental program will help children have healthy teeth and gums, a homeless shelter will keep families out of the rain and cold. To save time and concentrate efforts, start with the board members and the executive director, who will be the primary askers. Sketch out a rough case statement and then ask for constructive criticism from other stakeholders, including employees, clients, early donors, and friends.
If they indeed have value, that is, if they communicate the spirit and urgency of the program or service, those ideas will resurface. Another dimension of revising the case statement involves aiming at your target. You will naturally slant the statement toward the people you are wooing.
Target marketing, thoughtfully identifying the most likely potential donors, is one of the keys to successful fundraising. Now think of your limited marketing dollars as a quiver of arrows. All fundraising has monetary costs. These usually will include the earliest donors and people like them.
Following well-proven marketing techniques, your chances of successful fundraising starts with people who have already given to your organization, followed closely by those who have already donated to a similar cause. You want to grow the bull's-eye by turning people from potential donors to actual donors. Or, put another way, you want to foster a relationship with more and more individuals. Your staff, friends, and other stakeholders will help you identify more potential donors.
Slowly, step by step, this will yield a stable base of donors. And, if you are smart, you can begin to cultivate those donors who can make major contributions. It is individuals in those organizations who make the decisions, and you must carefully nurture your relationship with those individuals.
Getting funds for a new non-profit is remarkably like getting funds for a new for-profit venture. Fools are persons who think you have a good business idea with a real shot at success. Take the same approach with your non-profit. Second, if the case for the non-profit is compelling to you, it probably will also be appealing to your family and friends.
The third group of start-up non-profit investors might be fanatics who see the same social benefit that drives your ideas. Asking people for a donation to a non-profit that has no interest to them is folly. Targeting a small number of potential donors is an efficient way to focus your efforts.
The beauty of a personal visit is that you will be forming a relationship with the individual. You are speaking to persons who have already made a commitment to your non-profit, so asking them for money is not an imposition. By having a script that you can fall back on, including an ask level, you develop a consistent approach that you can improve. One suggestion is to make a list of the 100 persons you target for an individual visit and then roughly rank them in terms of their potential value to your organization.
The idea is that by the time you get partway through the list you will have honed your presentations and learned the major objections and how to deal with them and you will know what works best. That will concentrate your best efforts on the best prospects. It is also a way to pave the way for planned giving and other capital raising efforts.
Most non-profits conduct annual fund appeals in which they invite their stakeholders and other potential supporters to each make a small donation to cover the expenses of running the organization. Most appeals rely on mail to deliver a series of requests for money. Do not purchase or rent a mailing list unless you have money to burn. If you decide on a phonathon, prepare a script for every caller to follow.
This facilitates data collection and will help your organization improve results in the future. Hire a professional to prepare the script. The difference between the results of a good professional script and the results of an amateur effort will astound you. In most cases a good script will pay for itself.
E-mail is an increasingly popular fundraising method. These forms of direct mass marketing have a logic all their own, and small changes can lead to big differences in results. Accordingly, most nonprofits try to get direct marketing expertise on their boards or, failing that, rely on outside advisors to help develop the mailing package, the script and record, the e-mail, or the Web site. This is too important to be left to learn-it-yourself efforts.
Even a prospective non-profit can run a successful fundraising event. As with any fundraising effort, start with a goal in mind. If holding a successful special event were easy, there would be many more of them. Unfortunately, there are plenty of fundraising events that don't come close to meeting expenses.
Marketing is as important as raising money. In some cases, raising money is considered secondary, especially if the non-profit is new and unfamiliar. A successful event will elevate awareness of the organization.
However, if your non-profit can easily provide basic membership benefits, it's worth considering, since membership income tends to be very stable over time.
Methods can range from providing financial planning services to a group, encouraging inclusion of the non-profit in wills, and using life insurance or greatly appreciated stock to fund a major gift to more sophisticated methods that are beyond the scope of all but the largest non-profits.
There are over 30,000 charitable foundations. They represent a rich source of funds for non-profits-usually for restricted funds for specific programs or services, less often for unrestricted operating funds. The same way as you get funding from individuals. You have to know what you are seeking, do research on foundations that might be interested in what you are doing, and establish a relationship with people in those organizations who make funding decisions .
Foundations, whether public or private, are very explicit in their interests. Local charitable foundations serve local non-profit needs. Community foundations are very approachable and are a major source of funds for capacity building, which is jargon for helping small non-profits acquire skills . If your non-profit would benefit from a strategic planning retreat, for example, your community foundation might be willing to pay for a facilitator to help with the strategic planning process.
Make the relationship, get clear on your needs, and ask for their assistance. The big independent foundations are not likely to give money to small non-profits. Corporations and other businesses have charitable wings, usually under the aegis of community or public relations. Ask them what their donation criteria are.
What they may be willing to provide even to a brand-new non-profit is used furniture and equipment. Some companies even require junior officers to be active in local non-profits as part of their training. The United Way and other federated fund drives operate on a local level. They are major trainers for non-profit boards and staff as well as substantial funders.
You must get to know them very well, because they act as a clearinghouse for non-profit information and referral. Service clubs such as Rotary, Elks, Lions, and many others have a strong local presence. They have been known to adopt small non-profits, steering funds and raising awareness as part of their service duties. They also provide a great venue to speak, allowing you to reach business and community leaders in a favourable environment.
Public funding sources include federal, state, and local agencies. The good thing is that they provide a lot of money. You should also look for local grant-writing seminars. This is a strong point of your local United Way-the staff benefits by eventually receiving well-thought-out grant proposals and saves time by helping non-profits learn not to submit long-shot proposals.
Sometimes foundations issue requests for proposals, stating their interest in funding some specific area of interest. While you might get some funds, in the long run it will cost your non-profit credibility. Return to your case statement. Document the need for the services and programs you provide.
Besides if you do have any questions give me a call: https://clarity.fm/joy-brotonath