Interview: A Model (Citizen) Fundraising Partnership, Part 1
FS: What advice would you give to fundraisers looking to expand their fundraising and perhaps reach out to corporate or other nonprofit partners?
DF: If you’re going to reach out to anyone on a corporate level, there are three things you should expect to encounter. For one, these people are extremely busy. Two, the corporate company most likely has other nonprofit involvements, so adding another to the list is probably not on a CEO’s agenda. Lastly, corporate execs don’t have a lot of time on their hands to listen to a 60-minute presentation on your mission.
With this in mind, you need to be concise and efficient with presentation delivery to the corporate world. The execs are not going to be the "hearts and flowers" emotional-based group — they are more practical and tactical than anything else.
My advice is to really understand who you are presenting to: Do your homework, and research the company beforehand. And see if they are adamant about a particular cause, and try to connect your own mission to it. Don’t make your pitch too complex to understand — keep it short, concise and unique. Stand out amongst any other nonprofit presentations, and always distribute supporting material. This way, even when the elevator pitch is done, your pamphlet sits at their desk, constantly tempting them to give you a call back. Endorsements from their contemporaries about your cause are always helpful as well.
FS: What are some key takeaways you've learned from your work with the Model Citizen Fund and Karma Foundation?
DF: Any time you are working in nonprofits, there is tremendous good will and gratification. For the most part, that’s why people launch nonprofits. It’s not because you’ll make money or be famous. Karma provided us with an end-to-end solution, or what they call a "philanthropy legacy strategy," integrating business-minded individuals with charitable donations. Karma founders work with you in a cooperative way and are sensitive to your unique mission. They made fundraising and networking easier and more effective for Model Citizen Fund, all while having an unforgettable time at both small-scale and large-scale events. I truly believe the relationships I’ve created as a member of Karma will benefit me throughout my lifetime, especially when raising donations.
FS: How has your background as a CEO helped you in the nonprofit/fundraising world?
DF: When you’re deciding to be an entrepreneur and create a new opportunity, whether in the for-profit startup world or the nonprofit space, you are taking a certain risk and putting yourself out there. Fundraising is much of the same thing. You are constantly networking, finding new relationships or partnerships to build off of, and creating awareness through socializing. As a CEO, I’ve learned to properly and effectively network with others, ever since my high school years. You have to have a certain flair and relentless, and you can’t be afraid to hear a harsh "no" every once in a while. If you don’t ask for a donor’s time, you will never have his or her interest. The risk is worth the reward.