"It’s all about listening, giving something back and being creative!" sportanddev interviews two fundraising experts who share lessons learned and best practices of fundraising in the sport and development sector.
This is the sixth and final article in the fundraising in S&D series.
Marvin Radford (MR) is the head of external relations and fundraising at the International Sport and Culture Association and Melanie Tarrant (MT) is the head of fundraising at Alive & Kicking and a fundraising consultant at UK Sport.
sportanddev: What should fundraisers keep in mind when approaching potential funders?
Align yourself with funders
MR: Identifying funders whose core objectives match those of your organisation is in the best interest of all parties involved. Most funders have core objectives or a ‘theory of change’ which guides their decisions on which proposals to support. As a potential beneficiary, you should consider and indeed describe how your proposal for support aligns with the funder’s ‘theory of change’.
Solve problems for funders
MT: I would recommend that fundraisers always keep in mind the question “How can we help you?” at a pitch or meeting with a funder. If a fundraiser can solve a problem for a funder, whether by using its volunteering opportunities to boost morale within a workforce at a time when the company is going through a merger, re-brand or challenging period, or helping the funder to reach new audiences, the conversation will not feel so one-sided and will help the fundraiser to develop rapport and build trust.
Adopt a holistic approach
MR: Corporate donors are increasingly expecting partnership and collaboration proposals which are more holistic and not solely about financial resources. Corporate donors have a range of assets against which project proposals can leverage such as branding, marketing, and employee engagement and activation.
Make a personal contact
MR: In all donor relations, personal contact is essential. Funding decisions are indeed taken by persons, not machines, and personal contact and dialogue remain the most efficient means of communication between donors and beneficiaries.
sportanddev: What should fundraisers avoid when approaching potential funders?
MR: While we all believe our cause is worth supporting, we must avoid overreaching and stretching our own objectives in order to attract funder attention. The risk in overreaching our own objectives is that we will not be able to deliver on what was proposed. We should have principles just as funders have principles and respect that there are ‘more than enough’ deserving potential beneficiaries.
Thinking only of yourself
MT: What fundraisers shouldn’t do is think about the relationship purely from their point of view. So many times, you’ll hear fundraisers say what their charities need without taking a step back and thinking how they can build a sustainable, mutually beneficial fundraising partnership that benefits both parties.
Melanie concludes, "It’s all about listening, giving something back and being creative!"
Other articles in this series: