How can you find people or companies willing to make donations or contribute resources to your social impact business?
There are many ways to go about doing this. First, however, it is important that you consider what your organization's mission and vision are, and how you will be able to best serve the community with the help of such contributors. (Be sure not to count on them too much in the beginning though, as an emerging social enterprise needs its own infrastructure in order for its potential donors and collaborators to feel confident that they will see a return on their investment.) Here are some general guidelines for how you might want to approach the situation.
Once you have determined through looking into your research and market analysis where there is room in the community for your business to make a difference, it is time to go out and find the groups or individuals who will be most receptive to investing in such an endeavor.
By identifying those prospective contributors as early as possible, you can move on towards building up your organization's capacity enough to be ready when people come along with resources that would best yield a return on investment (ROI). This way, both parties benefit from the exchange: Your social impact business can serve more people and fulfill its mission, while those who might donate can see their contributions used in ways where they'll get good ROI and last long-term.
A few key questions you should ask yourself before looking into potential donors:
Are they in a position to give away money or resources?
How much will be expected in return for the donation, if any?
Will you be able to meet their expectations?
Are they likely to keep up their investment over time (perhaps looking for an ROI)?
Will what your organization asks for fit with what is feasible and sustainable on your end of the deal?
Now, when trying to identify who you should approach about donating or contributing, consider the following:
Look into local corporations, especially ones which are publically traded - these can include large hospitals, grocery stores, landscaping businesses, etc., that all have shareholders who may be interested in investing in the mission of your social impact business.
Look into public institutions - these can include schools, libraries, museums, etc., that are funded by local, state, or federal tax dollars. There are also government organizations that might be able to bring in even more resources or funding opportunities.
Find out who is involved with your organization's board of directors - it might just be that other people are already looking for ways for their own networks to help out your cause!
Look into individual donors. There may be people in the community who have financial means and interest in contributing because they feel strongly about what you are trying to do. You can find these individuals through networking by hosting events where you get the word out about the work you are doing.
Look into grant-making foundations or corporate grant-giving programs - some of them might come with a good deal of money, but also a lot of red tape and bureaucracy that you may have to jump through. Remember that not all grant-makers are open to new applicants, so it is imperative that you do your research first and figure out where the best place(s) would be for you to apply for grants from where you think there's a high chance of being accepted. That way, when the time comes, you will already have a working relationship established with those organizations or people who have money they would like to contribute towards bettering the community.
Consider approaching local businesses, groups, and organizations which have a vested interest in working with you or want to work with you - perhaps because their customers share the same values as your social impact business' mission - and see if they would be open to investing in it.
Look into local government organizations - again, these will have funding that can either come from taxpayers or from earning money through investments themselves. Besides this, there are also elected officials who might have the ability to allocate money for initiatives that help improve their communities.
Look into national corporations, groups, and organizations. Not only do some of them have an international presence (meaning that they could possibly increase your organization's reach), but they may also have a good amount of financial resources at their disposal. Approach those whose goals align with what you are trying to achieve.
Look into non-profit organizations that may align with your social impact business' mission - they might have funding opportunities that you can apply for or seek advice from. Sometimes they will also offer workshops on how to run successful fund drives, so take advantage of the learning opportunity when it arises!
Look into government departments. If they are relevant to what your business does, these types of groups can give out some pretty big contracts (like buying supplies, equipment, and services), which could be a huge help for your organization's operations.
Find out who is involved with partnering or collaborating organizations - this includes other social impact businesses, especially they share the same values as yours and other organizations that are focused on helping people.
Look into foundations - these are different from grant-making organizations in the sense that they may have a set of guidelines when it comes to funding applications but also worth taking a look into if you find one that has an area where your business fits well with what it is trying to achieve.
Seek out the assistance of trade associations - these are groups within specific industries who typically provide members or prospects they feel would be beneficial for their existing members access to information about products and services that could help them grow their businesses. Because your social impact business falls under this category, these groups could offer something that can benefit you greatly based on the industry.
So, what do you think? Do you understand the Tactics for Researching Prospective Contributors? We hope so! Now, go network!
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We look forward to working with you! Tracy V. Allen and her team are happy to help you thrive.