Including how to do your research, what approach to take and what to ask for.
Let’s face it - whether you’re fundraising for a special cause that’s dear to you or whether you’re a non profit organisation looking for a boost to your income, asking for money from businesses can be a daunting and sometimes intimidating experience. Most of us would rather head for the hills than ask for cash, so here’s a few handy tips to make the task a little easier.
1. Ask for money, you’ll get advice. Ask for advice, you’ll get money.
This is a great approach for businesses who you feel have an invested interest in the community. Ask them what they’d like to donate, and what they feel would be the best way to serve their local town/community. It could be a football strip for the local football team, or musical instruments for the local amateur dramatics group. Put the ball in their court and remember it's a two way street so be creative with your requests!
2. Research the company
Most businesses have a website these days and they’ll give an indication of what sort of business they are. Are they eco-minded and innovative or are they more traditional? Do they have a theme? Do they already donate to charities very similar to your own? It would be better to tie in with what their ethos is because you wouldn't ask them to donate a 16 seated minibus if they’re a green energy company! The key is to know your stuff.
3. Think outside the box
Let’s be honest, every business loves innovative and unusual ideas. If it’s a bit different, it’s more likely to get press coverage and attract the attention of the general public. Use popular social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to spread the story – it’s a cheap, easy and effective way to reach a big audience, so be out there or be square!
4. Keep it short and sweet
For most companies, time is money and they’re on a meter, so keep it simple. A 20 page document will probably be put on someone's desk and never see the light of day, so stick to the facts and use your resources. Emails and social media sites are quick and easy ways to explain what you want. Obviously you don't want to get into Stalkersville territory, so learn to recognise when no means no.
5. Have fun!!!
Make your sales pitch as fun and as engaging as you can. A good sense of humour is key.
One more thing – you shouldn’t feel uncomfortable about inviting other people to take action on a cause that they genuinely care about. You’re selling something significant and, at the end of the day, most people don’t mind feeling like they’re making an impact on the world. You’ve just got to ask them to!