Non-profit organisations (NPOs) have always been the backbone of society, but are under huge pressure to deliver even more services as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown. Despite their contributions, however, many NPOs are struggling financially due to diminished funding.
It is more important than ever for NPO leaders to nurture relationships with potential donors, to be thoroughly prepared for a meeting with a prospective funder, and to follow up in a professional manner.
This is according to Inyathelo, a non-profit established in 2002, with a key mandate to help other NPOs to become financially sustainable and well-governed.
One of Inyathelo’ s most popular resources for the non-profit sector is a collection of five booklets comprising the Attracting Support Kit for NPOs. This is available from the Inyathelo website for R300. The booklets were initially commissioned by the Western Cape Department of Social Development and are now in their second edition.
Referring to the fifth volume in the series, Fundraising meetings and writing proposals, Inyathelo Finance Director Soraya Joonas offers nine crucial tips to help NPOs to hold successful fundraising meetings.
- Do your research: Check that the individual, company or foundation shares common values with your organisation. Have they visited your projects, met a Board member or donated in the past? Many donors’ circumstances have changed. If a company is laying off staff, it is unlikely to have funds.
- Build a relationship: Donors give money to organisations they know and like. If someone is already aware of your organisation and has confidence in it, they are far more likely to support it.
- Set up a meeting: Ensure you can provide plenty of information on your NPO and its programmes, and the project you require funds for. Allow time for the potential donor’s comments and questions.
- Meeting attendance: The CEO or executive director should attend, plus the finance director or project leader, to answer specific questions. This will enable you to work as a team and talk to one another’s strengths and knowledge.
- Likely questions: Be prepared with appropriate facts and figures on the following topics:
- Stories – capture the voices and perspectives of recipients who have benefitted from your work. This could be letters of thanks, a videoclip, a short interview or feed-back in your monitoring and evaluation reports.
- Statistics – how many people does your organisation help?
- Budget – size of your organisational budget and the programme/project budget range
- Other donors – who else supports your organisation?
- Staff – how qualified and competent are they?
- Impact – what has changed in the community due to your work?
- Sustainability – what is your sustainability plan and how can the donor be assured that you will be a partner with longevity?
Remember that even if a donor is unable to support you now, they may be able to within their strategy in the future, or be able to extend a network to those that could support your work now, says Ms Joonas.
“Tell your story accurately and with passion, provide facts and figures, and show that you are competent to carry through and to action the plan.”