7 tip-offs for fundraising

Besides the list of possible financial resources for your development projects, it is important how to go about it. During the training with migrant-women organisations at WO=MEN, we got to the following list of very important items that one should consider while fundraising or presenting your plan:

1. Attract someone’s attention & be convincing

  • Explain the link between your project plan and (one of ) the organisation’s objectives.
  • Tell what’s in it for them. Supporting your plan or project: what is more to it than similar objectives? Is it network, knowledge, a realisation of the company’s CSR activity, access to a new target group, etc.?
  • Use pictures, film and beneficiary’s stories to illustrate your words.

2. Create trust that the project will be a success

  • Answer the question Why will my project be a success? in your proposal or pitch: you have a brilliant idea; you have great partners; you can show a track record of similar projects that you brought to an end successfully; you have a great CV for the job.
  • You may use a project model, like a Theory of Change, Social Return of Investment or Shared Value Canvas model (all more advanced logframe models), for several reasons (give an overview of your ideas in glance, for strategic planning, to use for Monitoring & Evaluation). Added as an attachment to the proposal it shows you really had a good thinking over the goals and activities in the project.
  • Show how your project will be sustainable on the long run (financially & in terms of ownership and capacity).
  • Take the time to make a good and realistic budget. No possible supporter will take your application serious with a budget that shows excessive amounts or with forgotten items that are essential, like work force (even if you work voluntary – then it will show your own contribution expressed in money-value).
  • Be transparent in all phases of the project: through a blog, Facebook page, keeping your partners and supporters up-to-date.

3. Tell your added value
Why should this particular fund, company or person start working with YOU? What is your added value compared to others.
During the workshop we discussed the added value of migrant organisations in development cooperation. We came up with the following: knowing the language and culture, as well as the project country’s political and historical context, having a local network, and be able to translate in a cultural sense between Dutch partners and local partners.

4. Stick to your story
A proposal form can be annoying: you feel you are answering the same questions over and over again, and at the end you may notice you forgot to tell half of the story you wanted to tell but are no specific boxes for. So, make sure you have your project plan and complete story ready and stick to it as much as possible, and make sure you tell everything you feel is essential. For example, also tell shortly about the context in which you are working (e.g. what problem will the project solve?; what is the situation in the country concerning the issue you are working on?; what is the target group and why?)

5. Network and join partnerships
Keep on networking and generating publicity concerning your work. It will pay off (one day).
Did you find an interesting opportunity but your organisation is too small to make use of it; find partners to cooperate and create a partnership in which all participants do what they are best at.

6. Luck
Have a little luck. Sometimes funds are exhausted, sometimes they had too little applications and criteria will be kept less strictly.

7. Write to the point (or ask someone else to do it for you)
Dutch funds are keen on proposals that are concrete, to the point and complete. Are you not good in writing (or speaking) in such a manner, ask someone else to do it for you. Of course the same applies in case your command of the language you need to write in is not good enough.

In short, although your idea for the project remains the same , edit your project proposal or pitch to every opportunity while stressing what is important to your audience.

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