Michael Masterson on raising funds for NPO's

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Michael Masterson on raising funds for NPO's

Postby GOSA » Fri, 2008-03-07 08:17

Dear Michael Masterson: "What would be the best way to raise money
for my non-profit organisation?"

Dear Michael:

"I am in the process of establishing a base for my soon-to-be
non-profit geared toward helping inner-city females (ages 8 to 18).
Our purpose is to build decision-making skills, self-esteem,
self-respect, self-worth, and, eventually, self-reliance. Currently,
we use space in a township facility. What would be the best way(s)
to let people know what I am striving to do, as well as raise funds
to help support us in our endeavours? My ultimate goal is to own my
own facility and perhaps do some transitional housing, training, and
preparation for work."

Dear S.Y.,

I'm not a specialist in non-profits. Generally speaking, I don't
believe in them.

When an enterprise lacks a profit motive, it tends to become
political and, therefore, corrupt. That statement may surprise you.
I'm sure you look at non-profits in a completely different way. You
no doubt feel that the desire for profits is a bad thing. We could
have a good, long conversation about that some day.
In the meantime, let's see what I can do to help you.

First and foremost, you have to be able to answer the question: "How
can I grow this thing and make it strong?"

That is, more or less, the question you are asking me. So let me
throw out a few ideas.

1. Understand that money fuels growth - even for non-profits. You
need money to get started and money to expand.

2. Recognise where that money is coming from. For the most part, it
will come from two different sources: affluent do-gooders and
governmental agencies.

These, then, are your "customers." For the first few years, you will
have to spend most of your time and effort "selling" them on
donating money to your non-profit. Most non-profit entrepreneurs don
't do that. In the early stage of their venture, they spend the lion
's share of their time developing programmes - more programmes than
they need to get the money.

3. To get government money, it's a relatively simple process:
Investigate grants that would apply to your concept, and apply for
them. It will be cumbersome and time-consuming - but if you are
willing to follow the rules, you should be able to get some funding.

4. Will that government funding be fast enough and big enough to
float your boat? Probably not. And that's where private money comes
in. To get private sources to fund your dream, you are going to have
to come up with a very engaging USP (unique selling proposition). In
other words, you'll have to come up with a concept that is in some
exciting way new and different from that of other, similar

5. To come up with that USP, I'd recommend that you find out as much
as you can about organisations that support young girls in urban
centres. There are probably hundreds (if not thousands) of them.
Find out who they are and which are the most successful. Call the
people heading up the most successful ones and interview them. Be
gracious. Make friends. They will help you later.

6. Study the theory behind organisations like these. Be able to
quote persuasive data in casual conversation. Give yourself the goal
of becoming one of the world's top experts in the niche you are
entering. If you spend 5,000 hours studying and talking to
professionals in your field, you will rise to that level.

7. Locate affluent people in your community. Find out where they
socialise. Find out where they work. Meet them at parties and events
and chat them up. Send them personal letters. E-mail them. Your
initial goal should not be to raise money. If you come at them
directly, they will back away. Remember, wealthy people are always
being hit up for donations. They are good at refusing - but less so
when they are being asked by someone they like and trust. You have
to become that someone. How can you do that? By developing
relationships with them that are based on them talking to you. What
do I mean by that? Read Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and
Influence People".

There is much more I could tell you, but what I've said so far is
80% of what you need to know. If you follow my advice, your chances
of success will be very high.

Good luck. and let us know how you are doing.

- Michael Masterson
What have YOU done for YOUR rights today?
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