It is extremely easy to gain investments for your non-profit and everyone involved in it enjoys it very much. Also: Olympic athletes recommend a diet of cheese fries and frozen burritos, and Congress constantly seeks opportunities to cooperate with the president.
There’s nothing anyone can do to make raising investments easy for your non-profit. There, are, however, best practices that can lighten your load a little and bring heightened efficiency to the enterprise.
It isn’t easy to gain and find investments, and that doesn’t make it the most popular activity. The inherent issues in seeking funding contributed to this as well. This causes many of your board members to wait for others to do it. If no one is necessarily more responsible than others, no one will want to step up.
But if you have just a few people contributing, you’re without an adequate force. What you can do is utilize the strengths of various board members. Some of your members know a lot of people around town and a lot about the various government departments, etc. But that person, we’ll call her Jody, may hate asking people for money.
Jody can be given an important advising post, responsible for using what she knows not only for steering people toward leads but also for helping the efforts of board members on social media, etc. Her knowledge of who’s who and what’s what around town will help planning events and other campaigns.
Your investors may be philanthropic foundations or other types of investors, but it is the case with non-profits just as with standard businesses that there are entities whose needs and desires best match the aim of your organization. Staying within areas of focus and interest is key, and highlighting, with persistence, a few likely sources, is your best bet.
Trying to gain investments for a non-profit can be closely compared to seeking start-up capital for a business. Unfortunately, the fact that you are working with solar power or any other worthy cause is just not enough. You have to effectively communicate this in terms that are persuasive. One of the most important things is to sound as though you have a clear focus and are working with clear, manageable goals. Investors want to know that their capital will be used wisely and efficiently.
Whatever return you investors might be able to gain from your investments, you need to be clear about how you plan to get there. This doesn’t mean a hard sell or excessive optimism, just clarity.
Particularly in terms of solar energy, making your investors feel they are part of your mission is important. This can amount to making them feel as though they are installing solar power, that they are helping the environment, etc.
Here’s how to do this:
- project a lot of excitement about your mission. Do so with video and photos and music
- focus on your vision, not on the need for money. Basically, describe a party to which your potential investors are invited. What has to matter is the end result of the campaign. Basically, it’s going to happen, and investors can be part of it if they choose.
Be sure to show appreciation to investors and to keep them in the loop. Make them a part of your community throughout the process. This can help with necessary repeated investments, but it also engenders the kind of community you’ll be looking for.
What you do with your investments is every bit as important as securing them in the first place. In the same way that a penny saved is a penny earned, intelligent and efficient use of investments is equal to securing a bit more in the way of funds.
If your non-profit doesn’t have an investment committee and an investment manager it must do so and also come up with an IPS, investment policy statement.
An IPS should discuss the risk the company might be willing to take and its parameters for using investments. It should be specific yet flexible. It also has to have methods by which you can evaluate the success of the investments.
The things that you do in your non-profit to address the needs of your community are the same thing you’ll do to secure and use investments. Clarity, precision, and manageable goals will both appeal to potential investors and allow you to have success with any funds you secure.