Generis on Fundraising

Funding is a huge part of planting; probably 33%-50% of your pre-launch time.  Shoot for self-sufficiency after three years.  Need a big chunk up front – a half or a third of your three year goal.

Uphold the value of generosity with your launch team from the get-go.  Need a culture where giving and conversations around giving are normal.

Come up with a prospect list.  List out everyone you’ve ever known, and rate them on three aspects: Relationship (how close they are to you), Capacity (what’s their financial means), Affinity (proximity or resonance with the project).  

Focus on the heart of the giver foremost, and the target vision of the gift as a soon second.  People do give to a strong and compelling vision.  People give most to a cultivated dialog.  If you got your check after the first conversation, you sold it short.  The priority donors need 2-5 conversations.

Understand the layout of your best gifts.  You may get a $50 gift from a hundred donors, but the reality is that you top 5-10 key donors are going to do more than all the small givers combined.  Therefore, spend your time cultivating big donors.  Launch team tithes are a consistent middle ground between the two.

Communication Tools

  1. Vision Document (1 pager) and a commitment card.
  2. Need electronic donation capability.
  3. Video
  4. Response – get a yes to something before you leave.  It can be as simple as a yes to, “Can we chat again by phone next week?”
  5. Verbal – one on one visits are the most powerful tool.  Leading with a letter is least effective.  Email hype, Facebook, verbal conversations go first.

Know how much you need.  Planters need a three year budget with a realistic offering projection, thus showing the amount needing to be fundraised.


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