Monday, April 20, 2015

Startup cash - networking for support

Search online for "nonprofit startup funding", and you'll get lots of results from well-known players in the field as well as articles from prestigious universities and publications.

The common thread is that you aren't going to access funding from one of the large foundations. In the beginning this is definitely a  DIY project.

Nearly all of these searches are going to emphasize you almost literally have to be a door-to-door salesperson.

Of course today that also means social networking, but regardless of how you do it you have to start with one-on-one contact. Checks don't write themselves.

One of the currently popular ways to raise capital is through some type of crowdfunding. It's relatively inexpensive to do, and some of the results are staggeringly successful.

What all of these campaigns have in common is viewer participation and that comes from awareness.
That means you have to do something to  generate interest.
That could mean latching onto a current news story. Remember the business owner in Ferguson MO whose business was trashed so badly she thought she might have to close for good? She got so many contributions from a GoFundMe campaign that she is going to be able to help other businesses that suffered after their businesses were trashed. That campaign leveraged the national media attention on the underlying issue.

Or maybe you have a few dozen followers on your Facebook page that already have an interest in what you do. You can ask them to tweet out a call for supporters interested in learning more about your cause.

Local papers are usually looking for community or local area news.  Find out who is bylining those stories and let them know you have some news for them. It helps if you already have a fundraising campaign in place.  Be sure you let the interviewer know how people can help.

If your nonprofit targets an area or problem that has already been in the news recently, be sure you let the reporter know.  After all, it could turn into a series of articles for them.

And of course there is your board of directors. Each one of them probably has a social media or community presence as well.

Attracting startup nonprofit cash is about building relationships. Relationships require connecting to someone. Check out these two messages.

Both use a picture of a little dog. One says "Local group wants to build no-kill animal shelter"  The other one says "Without your help, Fido will die on Friday".  Which one do you think people are going to click on?

If you need help designing a campaign or appeal for startup funding, drop me a line at It's what I do.

 ©2015 – Rebecca Lee Baisch  

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