Lately, it seems like everyone we’re speaking with needs to fundraise. New non-profits, campaigns starting up or organizations wanting to take on a new project all need the resources to operate, and they aren’t always sure where to begin.

Fundraising is never as scary as people want to believe it to be, but it is critical if you want to be successful. By no means is this an exhaustive list, but here are five questions to consider before you get started to set yourself up for success.

  1. What is your budget for the first year, and what will it take to scale and then maintain? Consider how much other organizations or campaigns needed to have to achieve the same outcome.
  2. How are you going to raise it? Unfortunately, there is no magic money tree. Think through who will be a funder to this project and if your income will be made up from grants, individual contributions, or through email solicitations. Most likely it’s going to be a combination, but it’s a good exercise to think this through.
  3. Fundraising is relational. And it’s a team sport. Who do know that will sign on to be and early investor? That can be a list of board members, a foundation already supporting the work in the field you’re in, group of supporters or…you. Put pen to paper and think through who you know and what their capacity really is, or how they can help introduce you to new networks.
  4. How quickly do you need the money in hand to fully operate? Campaigns are notoriously quick at launching – it’s essentially like starting a small business from zero and be up and running within a couple of weeks. Non-profits take a little more time to get going. It’s important for your planning – and your sanity – to look at what your launch goals are and assess how long it will take you to get there.
  5. Get organized and be realistic about what you can do on your own, and where you need help. Part of being organized is also putting in place the right tools, like a fundraising database, that can help you to track and plan your fundraising strategy. 

If you’re reading this blog, you’re likely either starting up a campaign, or a new organization that supports a great cause. If you’re passionate about your project, it shows, and will help others see your vision and invest in this new opportunity as well.