October is "Breast Cancer Awareness" month which is a perfect time for me to do Fundraising for a worthy cause.
This particular cancer touched our family with the 1999 death of my 44 year-old cousin. She was married with two young children and a genuinely sweet person. It was difficult to see someone so young and vibrant go so quickly. Her brother gave a wonderful eulogy at her funeral that still resonates with me today.
Fundraising effectively is never easy so if you want to raise money for any cause or have struggled with it in the past, I have an approach that has worked well for me. Before I share it with you, keep in mind that the most important part of fundraising is to BE PERSISTENT and to CLOSE THE DEAL.
People often start well by telling an effective story and getting a person/corporation emotionally ready to give but fail to complete the task by asking for and receiving the desired funds (closing the deal). Whether in Sweden or the USA, people can be hesitant or stubborn in parting with their money even though they might want to. Those you feel would like to give should be persistently pushed to do so in a pleasant and strategic manner.
Fundraising is one of my passions and I am involved in some aspect of it every year. I wrote an extensive fundraising strategy for WWF (Sweden's World Wide Fund for Nature) in 2004 and not long after they closed a big corporate deal. I also closed a 10,000 Euro sponsorship in 2005 for UNICEF Belgrade when they hired me for a 2 month assignment in Serbia. In addition, all funds for my basketball youth program (Gswede.blogspot.com) are raised through my network of business and personal contacts.
If you would like to raise money for Breast Cancer this month, below are two fine organizations (one in Sweden and one in the USA) to contribute to. I have given donations to both in the past.
In Sweden - Cancerfonden (http://www.cancerfonden.se/)
In USA - National Breast Cancer Coalition (http://www.stopbreastcancer.org/)
Below is my 7 step approach to fundraising.
Happy Gswede Sunday!
7 step approach for fundraising
(# 7 being the most important)
1) Plan Carefully
There are many elements (who,what,where,why, how much,goals?) involved and having a solid plan is crucial to success.
2) Target your Donors & Corporations precisely
A fundraiser must have a prospect target list. Without precise targets, a fundraiser tends to waste precious time. Going to your "low hanging fruit" (friends, people or companies you know personally and can ask and get a commitment from quickly) first is essential.
3) Convey the Importance of the Cause
Conveying the cause must be heartfelt and passionate and presented often. Important issues about specific projects and history need to be told with similar themes and talking points.
4) Seek out Needs and Desires
The needs, goals and desires of donors or corporations must be known before asking for their financial support. Knowing what a person/company likes or is passionate about will prove invaluable.
5) Be Credible and Trustworthy and Inspiring
A successful fundraiser must be credible and trustworthy. Coming across as just "out for the money" or not caring about the individual can be detrimental to the cause.
6) Relations are Important
Relationships are important in every part of life but in fundraising they make the difference between "Great" and "Good". If people like you, the chance for fundraising success jumps significantly.
7) Close the Deal
A fundraiser cannot be afraid to be persistent and ask for the money needed. Networking and having good relations with potential clients/friends/corporations is fine but "closing the deal" should always be top of mind. "No" doesn't always mean "No" when appealing to prospective givers; it might mean that you have not convinced them them thoroughly enough.
The Michael Jordan of Serbia, Sasha Djordjevic. He is pictured with the former head of UNICEF Belgrade (far right) and two young fans. This was after a UNICEF news conference to promote Sasha's Farewell game as he was soon to retire from Professional Basketball in Europe
Serbian star and current Los Angelas Laker (NBA) player, Vladimir Radmanovic (yellow shirt) along with 2 friends from the USA participated in a 3 on 3 basketball tournament arranged by Gswede (far left). It was raining slightly outside but the games were played!
The most touching and energetic "Farewell Basketball Event" I have ever experienced. The love for Sasha Djordjevic in that arena of 6000 was magical! UNICEF Belgrade was the organizer and the money raised went to the "Schools without Violence" program in Serbia.