For Impact


Key Funding Points for Social Entrepreneurs

Funding | | Nick Fellers

I’ve been spending a lot of time ‘in-the-field’ the past few weeks coaching some remarkable social entrepreneurs from Mulago, StartingBloc, and (nonprofit graduates of) TechStars.

Here are simple reminders we come back to with almost every social entrepreneur.

  • 97/3. Especially as it relates to start-up / scale-up capital, 97 percent of your funding is going to come from 3 percent of your ‘list’. This is about a few key prospects (not kickstarter, or 1000 requests).
  • Own your 30,000′ Message. Social entrepreneurs tend to geek-out on WHAT they do. You know WAYYY too much. Focus on the WHY… the ‘TOWARD WHAT END’, or you’ll lose me!
  • Have an ask. Create SALES TOOLS. Social entrepreneurs create a lot of plans, materials, etc. Show me what you’re going to use to help you get ‘numbers on the table’.
  • JUST ASK. You don’t have time for extended courtship; neither does your funder.

    If this feels too DIRECT, think about it in this way: Your goal is to get the prospect to ask, “How can I help?” And then you need to have an answer. I challenge you to get them to ask this in the first meeting!

  • (At this stage) You are the Chief Sales Officer. If you don’t like fundraising you’re going to hate managing a fundraiser even more.

    Don’t hire a director of development. Instead, hire someone to take things off your plate.

  • Believe in yourself. Don’t pitch a hypothesis. Pitch a vision.