If you want to deepen these topics and other general tips in a more exhaustive way, consult the So You Need Money Guide!
Reflecting on why you need money:
Understanding the reason why you need money is the first step to take before approaching potential financiers. Different financing needs can be met by different financing sources.
Reflecting on your legal structure:
The legal structure of your organisation is a crucial element to consider when looking for external funding: your legal structure can influence your access to the various financial instruments.
Your values may change based on your legal structure and mission. The values that you bring to the table can be very diverse, e.g. social values, innovation values, artistic values, educational values, etc. These values are context-specific and may differ across the different activities in which you are involved and for which you need external finance. These values, however, do influence the type of finance that you might want to attract.
Reflecting on your lifecycle phase:
As you are preparing to apply for funding, it is important to reflect on the stage of development that you or your organisation is in. The financing needs and difficulties in accessing finance vary significantly at different stages of your lifeycle.
Regardless of your lifecycle phase, you should aim for a balanced financing mix. This means that, instead of looking for and relying on a single financing source, you should try to combine different financing sources.
For you to be able to attract finance in this sphere, it is crucial to have a strong story that appeals to the (emotions of) potential financiers, so they feel connected and somehow also responsible for making the project successful and for generating impact. In order to attract financial or non-financial support in this sphere, it is essential to look for potential donors whose personal values or corporate vision and mission are in line with your (organisation's) values and vision. Remember that, in this sphere, the financiers are 'allies' rather than 'business partners'.
With specific regard to patrons, firstly you should think carefully about what a patron could do for you or your organisation and what sort of patron would be best (someone who is likely to support your cause or project). It is important to reflect on this before approaching potential patrons! When shortlisting, also check if they are already patrons as they may not want to take on another role. Approach them with a presenting who you are or what the organisation does and what you would expect of a patron. If possible, make use of anyone associated with your work who has a credible link to the possible patron to facilitate the initial approach. Then continue the conversation and, after the agreement, keep the patron engaged and informed about your work. While patrons need to be identified and normally approached individually, foundations often publish periodic calls for grants and other types of support. Thanks to the list of foundations by country that we provide in this tool, you can monitor the foundations’ websites and be constantly updated on the open and upcoming calls.
It is important to understand all the cost related to a crowdfunding campaign before you get started.
There are 4 types of crowdfunding: