Yesterday, I spoke to my colleague, Rodney Elam, who raises quite a bit of money for a Washington, D.C. nonprofit. We spoke about strategies to build the financial capacity of mission-driven organizations like mine. He reinforced what I know is true. You can definitely make money doing something you love that impacts society.
Though there are various funding models for businesses and nonprofits, what stays consistent in almost every model is that relationships and strategy matter.
In trying to get investors to fund your business, putting on events, writing grants, creating campaigns around a social issue, or seeking out wealthier individuals who are simply passionate about your cause, your ability to be able to have critical and strategic conversations with key contacts can totally change the dynamic of your organization through the additional funding it could provide.
Though there are many steps involved in gaining the funding you need to move your dream forward, there are 3 things I would suggest you do to increase your organization’s cash flow.
1) Determine what funding model and strategy is best for your organization and industry. Click on the following links for a few examples of strategies that have worked for major nonprofits and for-profitcompanies (and certain strategies certainly work for both nonprofits and for-profits):
“Ten Nonprofit Funding Models” by Stanford Social Innovation Review
“10 Practical Ways to Improve Small Business Profitability” from YFS Magazine
2) Create a list of top prospects for funding, whether those are individuals, businesses, foundations or other sources. Create a priority list and timeline of when you will call or visit these prospects. Emailing is the least effective method of outreach, unless you know someone who has a personal connection with the entity and can facilitate an introduction. No matter how you reach out, a personal connection with someone who can make an introduction is always a plus!
3) Know where you are and where you want to be as an organization. You never know when you might meet a prospective funder or be speaking to someone who is connected to a funding source. At all times, and especially before your conversations with prospective funders, know where your organization is financially, and what small, medium, and large-scale funding would benefit your organization. Know how much money would cause a certain scale of impact on your organization, and be able to vocalize that. Don’t forget to let the individual or entity know that you know about them, want to learn more, and care about their work as well.
Stay tuned for more advice on what else you can do to pursue your dream of having an impact on society through your business!
Article by Daphne Valcin, Your Empowerment Specialist
Photo credit: Simon Cunningham (Flickr)