10 tips to successful fundraising

Success in securing money from donors often starts with the perfect fundraising pitch. Developing that pitch or proposal, however, is not always an easy task.

Maya Prabhu, executive director of philanthropy services at U.K. banking firm Coutts, knows this from working for major aid groups and donors such as the Ford Foundation and Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation, among others. In a blog post in the Guardian, she shares a number of tips for charities seeking assistance from major donors, whether a foundation or corporation.

  • Listen to the donor to determine its interests and passion.

  • Understand the donor and the issues or trends in its industry. It also pays to get to know the challenges a donor is currently facing.

  • Know your charity and its own issues as well as those affecting the larger charitable sector.

  • Focus on solutions, instead of the problem or issue you are trying to address. Donors are often more interested in the solution you are offering.

  • Make sure to carefully and clearly articulate how your proposed activities would address the problem, how you define success and how you would measure it.

  • Tell stories. Inject life and passion in your pitch to inspire donors.

  • Avoid using jargon.

  • Know the right time to ask.

  • Always be professional in your interaction with existing and potential donors, including in your follows ups.

  • Have a good dose of intuition, charm and empathy, among other personal attributes. These are “as important as your professionalism.”

Do you agree with these tips? What other pointers should charities keep in mind when making fundraising pitches? Have your say by leaving a comment below.

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About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.