Some time ago we published an article on donor retention and shared some tips on how to retain your donors. This article is a little slide from that discussion. When you meet a funder for the first time, as it is with everyone else first impression matters. There are practical ways to go about approaching and discussing with a funder for the first time. We would be assessing this in three phases- before, during and after.
Prepare to pitch. If possible rehearse your pitch lines. Be able to capture the main objectives or impact plan of your organisation in a few words. This is as important as remembering the name of your organisation.
Prepare your full and comprehensive proposal. Endeavour to use audio-visuals in your proposal as it communicates your proposal better than long boring texts.
Organise your record of impact so far. This is for organisations which have passed the idea and pilot stage. Show proof of your impact.
Ask for a time convenient for the funder as their willingness to listen to you is important.
Do a little research on your funder to understand them better. You can initiate your conversation by commending for the work they do in making the world a better place. That is a soft spot hit and that is good for you.
Go straight to the point. Do not beat around the bush. Pitch your organisation as soon as your funder or potential funder is willing to listen.
Avoid over informal gestures. Salutations are necessary but must not be protracted.
If speaking, be clear and audible enough. If writing, avoid grammatical and typographical errors.
Ask for the funders opinion of the work you do in your organisation. Ask also for honest criticism and any other kind of feedback. The power of this move lies in the fact that good leaders treasure honest feedback and that is a widely held belief.
Avoid slandering other people or organisations while trying to explain how unique yours is. You can prove innovation without having to undermine the works of those before you.
Respect the time of your funder. If you meet them in a lift, make up your mind not to drag your pitch beyond the lift. Be smart, concise and direct.
Avoid bothering your funder with post conversation messages. Ensure to respect their individuality and privacy.
However, a reminder after some time may not harm. Simply ensure that reminder is direct and not pestering.
Engage with your funder on other fronts- on their social media, comment on their articles without being opportunistic. Keep it real and interesting. We hope that helps.