Fund Source

Where has all of the funding gone?

Recent cuts at Ontario Arts Council (see Global News) and Ontario Trillium Foundation (see CBC) by the Ford government have left charities and non-profits in Ontario with reduced options for funding, and increased competition. So what can your organization do to survive in these difficult times?

Here are 5 tips from DoGood Fundraising Solutions to help your organization to thrive in a challenging and competitive fundraising landscape:

1) Meet with your supporters – face to face meetings are essential when seeking large gifts. However, meeting with supporters has multiple benefits for both parties. The meeting results in increased awareness of your organization’s activities, as well as a better understanding of your donor’s needs. This also helps your work to be top-of-mind, for when donors are ready and willing to make a gift.

2) Call your funders – engaging with your funders by reading newsletters and attending engagement events is important. However, most organizations don’t take the time to schedule a meeting with their current or prospective funders. Regardless of whether you have submitted an application or not, funders appreciate a phone call to learn about your project and see if its a good fit. They will often invite you to submit an application, which increases your chance of a successful grant.

3) Promote your work through all marketing channels – social media drives fundraising, and keeps your donors updated. During challenging financial times, its essential to remind your donors that your work is important, and that you need their financial support. A great examples – here’s an image which one of our clients, Studio.89, shared with their donors in a recent email newsletter:

4) Bring heightened awareness to your cause – with increased competition for funding, your organization needs to have a strong presence. An effective strategy can involve calling your local newspaper, online news agency, news channel, or political representative with a large newsletter distribution. Ask if they can visit your organization and capture a story with a call for support. This story could translate to increased interest in your work, and may lead to more financial support for your organization.

5) Get on the radio – when it comes to reaching audiences directly, the radio can still be an effective channel. Find a talk show which your donor audience listens to. Then, reach out and ask if you can be part of a segment to discuss your work. Radio hosts are often looking for more content for their shows, and this can be an effective way to raise funds for your work.

Do you have any other tips or ideas  that can help non-profits thrive in our challenging and competitive fundraising landscape? Contact us at info@dogoodfundraising.ca and you could be featured in a guest post in one of our upcoming newsletters!

5 Tips To Market Yourself Better to Funders

Incorporating effective marketing strategies to obtain funding ensure long term success for your nonprofit. Since nonprofits rely heavily on the support of donors to continue the growth and impact of their mission, it is crucial to effectively communicate your message so that it can reach your desired audiences effectively and clearly and donors will want to contribute and support your organization. Here are 5 tips to help market yourself to funders:

1) Use Social Media platforms to reflect your values and beliefs

Social media is an effective marketing tool which provides the ability to connect with your audience. It is important to create content on your social media outlets that are directly related to your organization’s values and objectives. This will allow your audience to know exactly what your organization does and believes in. Also, keeping up to date with your content is a must! Let your audiences know about your recent activities, and keep them in the loop, so they can see how active your organization is, and ways to get involved.  It is important to create an online community of followers and people that you follow too. Engage and share content which is relevant, and use this tool to the fullest! 

2) Create clear messages and useful content

Expressing your values, objectives and how you will achieve your goals is crucial for marketing yourself to a funder. If you would like to have more financial support and grow your list of supporters, your potential funders must understand and believe in your initiatives. Having a clear message will also draw attention to your organization, so that funders know exactly what they will be supporting. Remember to be clear, and transparent when creating content!

3) Determine your target market

It’s important to define who your target market is to understand your audience. Ask yourself: What is their age ramge? What are their occupations? What are their interests? These are all important key elements to understand your target market, so that the content aligns directly with your audience’s interests. It can also be helpful to research similar organizations and see how they market themselves to a similar target market.  

4) Create a powerful online presence

Creating an online presence means optimizing all online outlets which you have created and interacted with. This can include social media, websites, and any search results that come up when you are “Googled”. Your online presence can be used to reinforce your goals to a much wider audience. Once you are able to effectively communicate with your audience, your next step is to create a web presence that interacts with as many stakeholders as possible – including funders. Create a schedule and plan how you will achieve an effective online presence that will reach your target audience. The stronger your presence, the more likely funders will be to encounter your organization and to want to support you.   

5) Create a blog 

Creating a blog is a way to encompass all the previously mentioned tips. A blog can be incorporated through your website and your social media outlets. This will allow your audiences and potential funders to learn more about your organization and become inspired! In your blog, you want to communicate your goals clearly and enthusiastically, in order to convince funders to support your cause. Be sure to include all links to your social media outlets and be consistent with your target market when creating content. Also, a blog is great way to build your online presence through interacting and building a community who is passionate about similar causes. 

5 Tips Grant Writing Success

Grant writing can be an effective way to fundraise for your cause. Unlike face-to-face fundraising, grant writing focuses on creating a compelling call for support through a written statement.

You may never need to face your prospective funder in-person, although it would be prudent to acquire some background information about your funder and to communicate with them throughout your grant writing process.

Your organization can benefit from grants when time and effort is invested in submitting strong applications, and when your submission is clear, compelling, and supported by research.

Here are some tips to get started:

1.Find well-matched funders who will champion your cause.

Grants are available from various sources such as corporate, government, and foundation funders. No two funders are exactly the same, and many are precise about the type of cause which they will support. It is better to focus your efforts on funders whose interests align strongly with your organization’s mission.

2. Read the funder’s requirements carefully.

Find out when their deadline is and what their requirements are, and try to plan your application accordingly. You may need to gather supporting material with your grant application, including a budget, research to support your submission, letters of support, and financial reports.

3. Think deeply about the justification for your cause or program.

Imagine you are writing to somebody who knows nothing about your cause. What information would you give to convince them to donate to your cause? This is what you should consider when writing your application. Ask yourself the following:

  • Why is your cause or program important to the community?
  • Have you thought about how much money is reasonable to ask for and can you justify the means?
  • What outcomes would your program result in, if your funding request is successful?

4. Consider your audience.

It is important to tailor your grant application and writing style to each particular funder. This is where researching the funder, and initiating communication with them can be helpful.

5. Revise, revise, and revise…

For the best chances of success, your grant application should go through several revisions before your final submission. You should be checking for grammar, spelling, and clarity. If possible, try to get a friend or colleague to review your work; they may catch something you might miss!

For more information on grant writing, please contact us at info (at) dogoodfundraising.ca. Whether you’re starting out, need advice about a specific grant, or are in the middle of submitting an application, we look forward to working with you to reach your fundraising goals!

Lee Chang is the Grant Writing Assistant at DoGood Fundraising Solutions.

How to Start Fundraising

Getting started with fundraising is simple. This page provides some basic steps to prepare you before initiating your community project or program.

Hi there! I’m starting a new non-profit organization and need help with raising money. Do you have any advice for where I can go to get grants? – Dagma

This was a message from an individual looking to start a shelter for youth who were in need of support services. Here are some recommended next steps:

Step 1: Determine your plan of action

It’s important to understand what you would like to accomplish, and why. Do you have statistics, research, or evidence that your project or program is needed in the community?

This may involve a discussion with your team or community, before you take any next steps.

Step 2: Document your findings

Once your team has a strong understanding of the change which you want to create in your community, and your justification for it – document it! This means putting together a business plan for your initial operation.

This will be a key resource if you are planning to request funding or support for your initiative.

Step 3: Register your organization or join an existing body

Its important that your project or program is connected to a reputable organization. This could be an existing charity or non-profit, or a newly created entity.

Due to the high number of organizations currently competing for funding, its important to do an assessment of the organizations which currently exist, prior to creating your own. You can then reach out to them to discuss working together.

For information about the requirements for initiating a non-profit in Ontario, visit https://www.ontario.ca/page/incorporate-not-profit

Step 4: Begin identifying sources of funding and support

Support for your program or service could be in-kind, monetary, or other.

In-kind support refers to donations or goods or services, such as a fridge for a shelter or web design for a sports club. This support is key, as it will demonstrate to others that your initiative is currently being supported, and that you are making efforts to gather resources.

Monetary support refers to donations of funds, in the form of grants. This will require proposals to grant-making foundations, government bodies, and corporations.

For more information on requesting in-kind or monetary support for your project or program, please contact us at info (at) rohitdogood.ca. We look forward to providing guidance to make your initiative a success!

Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter to learn about upcoming funding opportunities, workshops and seminars, and free resources:

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Canada Announces the Social Finance Fund

New Fund to Open Millions in Funding to Organizations and Social Enterprises

The new Social Finance Fund will give non-profit, charitable and social enterprise organizations a chance to raise more money. This will result in increased jobs, new funders and investors, and more support for a struggling social sector in Canada.

The Trudeau government has promised $50 million for organization to “improve their ability to successfully participate in the social finance market”. While this could mean a lot of things, hopefully it results in training and professional development to make this funding accessible to organizations of all sizes and capacities.

Here’s the exciting part: $755 Million in funding over the next 10 years – in what is the biggest investment in social finance that this country has ever seen! Just imagine what this can do for social change.

The government estimates that we could see the creation of 100,000 new jobs, and $2 Billion in economic activity as a result. The move resulted from recommendations by a steering committee set up by the Senate, and the tireless efforts of convening organizations such as the Toronto-based Centre for Social Innovation. Hats off to CSI for their tireless efforts!

For more information, read the full report which explains social finance, titled Unlocking Canadian Social Innovation here.

Additional sources:
https://www.budget.gc.ca/fes-eea/2018/docs/nrc/2018-11-21_4-en.html
https://sencanada.ca/en/committees/soci/ http://www.sicanada.org/2018/12/13/unlocking-canadian-social-innovation/
https://socialinnovation.org/csi-ceo-addresses-the-senate-special-committee-on-the-charitable-sector/

#SocialFinance #ImpactInvesting #SocEnt

The Right Sponsor

By Rohit Mehta, for DoGood Fundraising Solutions

When starting your new project or event, the key to getting the right sponsor to align with your cause is to build a successful long-term relationship. This article will explain the steps you need to take to build this type of relationship, and to obtain the right sponsor.

So you’ve decided to start a new initiative, congratulations. Now you need to secure funding! A strong way to secure support that will grow along with your initiative is by obtaining sponsorship.

Before you start booking a venue, take the time to understand the companies which you, your team, and your organization currently do business with. Ask yourselves these three key questions:

1) Who are your strongest relationships at the moment? When you think about your current friends, family members, and the people you do business with, who stands out? Think of these as your best avenues for support. Remember that not everyone will feel the same way you do.

2) Who has supported you in the past? These will be your biggest cheerleaders. Your past supporters could include the people who were there during your successes and failures. They took time to meet with you when you were struggling, to encourage you, and to celebrate your successes. These relationships are worth their weight in gold.

3) Who follows you on social media? Interesting to note that everyone who follows you does so for a particular reason. Do you notice any patterns? Chances are that people are liking, following, and re-tweeting posts related to particular causes or events. Pay attention, because these individuals are likely to help promote and support your first event.

Once you have brainstormed a list, begin connecting these individuals to businesses. Do they work at a bank, an airline, or a tech startup? You can be assured that by having a conversation about your cause or event, you will peak the interest of these people.

Next, you need to qualify your prospective list of sponsors, to determine which one best aligns with your cause. For instance, the a charity run may choose to partner with a company that sells clothing and running accessories; a charity hair drive may partner with a company which sells haircare products, and a food drive may choose to partner with a leading soup manufacturer.

Once you’ve determined which companies strongly align to your cause, reach out to your contacts. This can be done through messaging personal connections through social media (LinkedIN, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook), or even picking up the phone. It’s important to start with your strongest connections, which are often personal, and move down the list towards your weakest links.

Once you have discussed the idea with your contact, ask for their help in setting up a pitch with the company in mind. You will need to create a presentation which indicates how the company’s participation in your initiative will benefit this brand, their sales, and ultimately – their profits.

The importance of clearly indicating benefits for the company cannot be understated, as they will base their participation on a relationship which is beneficial to them. Many companies will engage in charitable initiatives with the goal of driving their own sales and strengthening their own brand.

Once an agreement is reached and a contract is signed, it’s crucial to keep the sponsor updated on any changes or news related to the initiative. They should be invited to all public events or activities, and all interactions should be documented through photos, and on social media.

Finally, and most importantly, you must thank the sponsor following the event. A great way to do this is to provide a personal hand-written letter of thanks. If your event generated media impressions (print or social media), you should clearly share this with your sponsor. If the event was a fundraising initiative, be sure to clearly indicate how much funds were raised, and thank them for making it possible.

Follow these steps, and you will surely have long-standing sponsors which will support the growth, and ultimately the success, of your initiatives.

Your First Event

So you’ve decided to begin tackling in issue in your community, and your team is now ready to host your first event. Let’s get started!

Step 1: Determine Your Goal

What is your goal? Do you want to raise money to buy books? Do you want to help individuals who are struggling with a particular issue, such as lack of school supplies, or no access to safe medical supplies?

Once you determine your goal, you should quantify exactly how much ($) you want to raise, by obtaining quotes for your costs. Sometimes it helps to have three quotes to compare costs, and helps your supporters know that you have done your research.

Step 2: Create an Event Plan

You will need to come up with a plan that includes a marketing strategy, as well as how you will communicate your event, who you will target, and how you expect to convince those in attendance to financially support your cause.

It’s important at this stage to avoid incurring expenses, and to keep your costs as low as possible. Remember: funds raised in profits generated are intended to go to the cause, and the more efficiently you can do this, the more you’ll be able to impact your cause.

Step 3: Promote Your Event

Now is the time to reach out to your network, your colleagues, and those who believe in the work that you’re doing.

Whether you’re putting together a big sale, car wash, a business gathering, or a casual dinner, you want to ensure that guests are well-connected, generous, and connected to the cause.

As you progress with the logistical planning, you can solicit support from local businesses to make donations in support of the event. A great way to generate revenue is to host a small silent auction during your event, where you can generate funds by selling goods or services donated by businesses.

This method can help to raise funds for your cause, and promote local companies and the products and services which they provide. Note: your items should be priced according to the demographic of the guests in attendance. Your guests should be able to afford what you are offering.

Step 4: Document Everything on Event Day

On this day, you should capture the following: who was in attendance, their contact information, the number of donations received, amounts, and additional information for charitable tax purposes (if applicable).

This data will be very useful when communicating with your funders, as it demonstrates widespread support for the cause. This activity also shows that you’re generating interest and engagement in your cause, another important factor in seeking future support for your project or program.

Step 5: Thank Everyone

It’s often said that your next best donor is your last happy donor. The best way to retain support from these individuals is to thank every guest, and business that supported your event. Whether they provided donations in the form of funds (cash) or goods or services (in-kind), it’s important that you quickly and personally acknowledge their support.

To learn more about how initial fundraising events are set-up, visit Eventbrite and find a local event near you: www.eventbrite.ca

To get support for your next event or fundraising initiative, contact info@dogoodfundraising.ca