Never relent in your communication.
There is something about continuous communication with your community and partners. Provide occasional videos not longer than two minutes or an infographic of your impact in a quarter. It shows progress and builds the perception that there is constant growth that funders, investors and partners always want to see.
It is also a great way to stay top of mind. Remember, the organisations that everyone seeks funding from receive pitches and proposals from hundreds of thousands of organisations from across the globe. They are bombarded with information, and the last thing they need is a 48 paged report. Instead, they need simple and concise communication demonstrating what you do and why it is essential.
Keep donor updates frequent; provide them monthly or bi-monthly. Keep it simple, make it enjoyable – use stories of impact and make it easy to consume – use pictures, videos and infographics, and if written, use simple prose free of technical jargon.
Audio-visual is your friend.
Funding organisations and philanthropists deal with millions of content sent to them in pitches and proposals. What they need is a simple way to help them decide whether they want to work with you.
The easiest way to do this is through video and audio. You can create podcasts and beautiful videos or simple photo stories fused with audio to explain the context of your operations and the background of the success of the beneficiary you profile in your report.
The general challenge organisations make is to assume everyone knows about what they do. For example, you may be a household name in your district, province, county, or country. But never think that the rest of the world knows who you are.
Sourcing for funding means you are always seeking new people. People who have no context of your country or continent may be eager to find you but need your help to understand what you do and why it is essential.
The simplest way is to use audio-visual content. Get someone who can assist you tell your story succinctly.
Podcasts are also a great way to advocate for what you care about and rope in allies to your cause. The world is gravitating to podcasts, so this is a great tool to play the long game. Depending on what you are advocating for, it could be social protection for the elderly or inclusive education for the differently-abled; a podcast can help you build exciting discussions around what you do.
And that is extremely important because you need people to understand the gravity of what you do so they can join your cause. Podcasts are a brilliant way not just to fundraise and stay top of mind; it is a great way to become the go-to thought leader in your area of expertise. People of similar interests will gravitate towards you when you become the thought leader in a specific field.
Physically leave your location to meet targeted funders face-to-face
I have steadily started to learn that, at times, social media isn’t enough. Emails and zoom calls with funders across the globe may work temporarily during a pandemic, but more is required.
The hard reality is most of the fluid money is in the West. The majority of philanthropists and non-profits in the West have little to no intricate understanding of the African, Asian or South American experience. People sit in offices and read UN reports and government data, but there is not much clarity on grassroots operations and realities.
Philanthropists and international non-profit organisations operating outside your locale need help to understand. Not your country, you the person. The human connection allows you to “feel” each other’s “vibe”. As I mentioned in my last post, they are humans. They need to see if there is a connection not just with what you do but also with you.
This will mean budgeting as an organisation to attend events in New York, London or Amsterdam once a year. Attending events like the Skoll World Forum and Talking Philanthropy are significant annual global events.
Find a connector
I know attending global events like these is expensive because they have a price tag. This is where you need to find a connector. A connector could be an existing funder or a foundation that does support its partner organisation with these linkages. Because the reality is the closer you are to the money, the more likely you are to receive it if you can persuade the philanthropists of your cause.