We aim to bring CSOs, Individuals, Societies Together
Inspired by the banyan
CEO Forum excerpts on - DOs and DON'Ts of Fundraising
CEO Forum is a peer to peer learning opportunity for the heads and CEOs of the organizations in the social sector. The CEO forum is initiated and hosted by India Cares Foundation.
India Cares Foundation believes vibrant Civil Society Organisations play a vital role in building a humane society. We pay special attention to income generation; donor relations and leadership development in the social sector. A sector, that constantly builds its capacity and competencies to address the dynamic challenges, is the need of the hour and thus, the solutions must be based on real experiences.
The aim of the CEO forum is to be an opportunity within the sector to be a platform for peer learning between organisations, a space where leaders can share their challenges and seek solutions in an atmosphere of trust , encouragement and learning from experience.
“Civil Society Organizations (CSOs/ NGOs) should build a base locally for fundraising and seek individual and institutional funding to be able to grow and sustain” opines Murray Culshaw, an independent Development Sector worker and the Chairperson of India Cares Foundation. He is a pioneer in strategic fundraising and believes that this increases the role of a fundraiser in the organization.
Taking from the belief of Murray, at a session on 18th January, 2016, Mr Abhijit, Board member at Association for People with Disability (APD) and until recently Marketing Director of the organisation and Mr Gopinath, CEO of APD, facilitated a session on DOs and DON’Ts of fundraising.
Fundraising is an upcoming trend in the developing nations. Starting at the grassroot level to tap public funding to discovering face-to-face (street) fundraising, fundraising has now conquered the online platform to involve donors on a larger basis.
Fundraising is not only about money. It is also about learning how to communicate effectively with the public, developing a network of committed supporters for the cause one is raising funds for, and building a strong and successful organization to be able to face the challenges. For the organization, it is important to impart fundraisers with these attributes before they go out and fundraise.
Some of those attributes are listed below -
a) They don’t hesitate – Fundraisers don’t ask for themselves. They ask for the people in need and the cause they relate to. Thus, being a fundraiser, one must never hesitate to ask funds and/or resources from people. They must also try and reach out to as many people as possible. Drops fill an ocean! Reaching out to people on social media platform, personalised calls, emails, and text messages go a long way.
b) Craft and tell a story – Only a story can change a donor’s perspective! Thus, a fundraiser must bring in their passion and belief in the heart of the donor. A donor would donate only when they are ensured that their donation is real and long lasting. People love to hear happy stories of change more than the problem statement. While it is important to draw attention to the cause, always ensure that you share hope and optimism for a change.
c) Honesty is the best policy – An honest reply for a question always takes one a long way! An ability to say " I don’t know" or "I will get back" is a very important attribute. Donors might not know the fact, but being the one to misinterpret puts the organization’s name on stake.
d) Be humble - However , wonderful the organisation you are raising money for is and the cause is, it is important to be humble in sharing achievements - share the same as facts and not boastfully. Remember to acknowledge others who may have supported the endeavour too, in the past.
e) Simplicity wins! –Keep simple and win the battle! Big jargons put off the interest of people. Uninterested people do not donate. Hence, stay simple.
Organisation Preparedness: Fundraisers put in a hard work and patience and their work involves dealing with stress too. Thus, it is important to invest in the human resource exclusively to drive and facilitate fundraising. Researching on donors, identifying their interests, having an impact based strategy in place and ensuring methods of tracking donors helps in strategizing the process of fundraising and makes the job easier for the fundraiser.
The vision should always drive the ask for funding. Hence, constantly validate the vision before seeking support for programmes.
Many people find the idea of fundraising frightening and they dislike asking for funds. They do not know how to ask, who to ask, and how to set about fundraising. They are doubtful if donors will support or not. They are confused about their outreach, and thus they either fail at fundraising or do not bother about it.
A good fundraiser, however, tries and understands the process and the reasons for people to give. They retain the enthusiasm within themselves and keep up their spirit to find and persuade people to support the work of the organization.