Fundraising Training Series for Food Systems Advocates ft. Monica Chen (Apex Advocacy x 50by40)

Webinar1 hourPitchingRelationship-buildingFunding dynamicsMindset

This session covers the mindset and metrics that will support you pitching your project for funding opportunities. Join us to help shift out of scarcity mindset, solidify organizational foundations, and learn about sources of funding to support your work. Before writing grant proposals, pitching to funders, or running fundraising campaigns, it’s important to be able to clearly articulate your organization's mission, budget, objectives, and impact. With these pieces in place, you can confidently seek out funding from individual donors, grants, and more.

Community centric fundraising - we are working together to help animals. We should be generous and mutually supportive of one another.

It’s important to view the funders as partners who passionately want to end animal farming rather than just “money hoarders”.

Grant writing itself isn’t hard, but creating your strategy and theory of change is much harder.

Some charities have a harder time of measuring their impact than others, e.g. community building projects are harder to measure than corporate campaigns.

There is a language to learn - you’ll need to learn what to measure, how to create OKRs and how to talk about them, how to highlight of outputs.

All the funders are different - you’ll need to tailor your communication to each of them. However Monica didn’t have to hire a separate fundraiser to help her apply for funding.

Look at the materials that the funders produce - e.g. FAF’s 2021 report.

What you do will change as your work evolves

Monica’s tips:

There is no one-size-fits-all, however:

To dos:

  • Attend events (online and in person) where you can meet funders and ask other executive directors to introduce you.
  • Some conferences have more funders than others, such as Reducetarian and AVA. Sign up for the conference and log into the conference app, send messages to funders or simply bump into them as many are happy to chat without an appointment. Ask to be introduced during the conference.
  • Face time with funders matters!
  • Sign up for other organisations’ email lists and learn from them, especially organisations that have bigger marketing teams, follow them on social media. If you follow the ones at your level, you are likely to have a good benchmark
  • Visit other organisations’ websites, their donation pages, see how everything flows
  • Set up a CRM to track your donors (little green light is the one used by smaller charities) - it’s very hard to keep track without a CRM
  • Make sure that you don’t rely on one or two funders otherwise when you need to get your non-profit status you won’t pass the community support test.
  • Thanking people matters, but not in a perfunctory way, but in a relationship-building way.
  • Be clear about the niche that you fill and how you’re doing it. Be clear on what you’re doing that others aren’t doing, how your work is complimentary
  • It’s easier to apply when invited rather than follow open calls. However it’s harder for newer groups.
  • Ask your board to fundraise for you - create a menu of opportunities for them to do during the year. It’s your board’s responsibility to fundraise for your organisation.

Not to dos:

  • Don’t do very small income generating activities like t-shirts as they are not worth the time
  • Be careful with big spends on fundraising as it is hard to make them pay off
  • Don’t do too much, stop comparing yourself to others.
  • Don’t feel entitled to any funding. Every funder has their own theory of change and we should learn to understand and respect this.