For Impact



Video, Simplify Message | | Nick Fellers

Nick describes 8 ways that you can rationalize the number, timing, and ask to achieve the goal for your funding plan.


The funding plan lays out how you are going to deliver on your priorities and provides the justification for asking for the funds to achieve this goal. It is crucial to explain what you are going to do with the money, not only to justify the amount you are currently asking for, but also to explain how you will acquire the rest of the funds necessary to complete the goal.

When preparing for a visit, most anticipate that the biggest problem will be overcoming the objections from the prospect, but really it is getting the prospect to give more. It is important to first lay out a pyramid framework for funding to present different options to a prospect; for example, ‘We need seven people to give $3M, one at $1M, two at $500K, and four at $250K.’

There are 8 ways to use the funding plan to rationalize the number, the timing, and the ask; each is dependent on the context of the visit and the capacity of the prospect.

  • Leadership: offer for the prospect to be a champion for the organization to take the lead at the top of the pyramid, validating the plan and giving incentive for others to stretch themselves to reach the goal. It is a philanthropic investment, not a charitable gift.
  • Project: if the prospect is excited for a particular project, tell the story and present the opportunity for them to underwrite the project if possible.
  • Transformation: an opportunity to completely raise the operational bar in the organization and leverage the money to create a greater impact.
  • Momentum: a rationalization based on timing by presenting a number to the prospect that would enable the organization to build momentum for a project or priority at that point in time.
  • Participation: a reason for the prospect to be invested in an annual operating fund by increasing the participation number or percentage; for example, getting all the successful entrepreneurs in a community to participate in a giving-based membership society.
  • Strategic Partnership: this rationale is highly successful with corporations or foundations who would rather invest big numbers into one focused effort over a longer period of time on a strategic level, centered around the impact and income of an organization.
  • Legacy: this is a planned gift emphasizing leaving a legacy impact that could be formalized by creating a heritage society that the prospect can enter when giving a particular number.
  • Seed Money/Angel Investor: this rationale is used primarily for start-up organizations or projects and is used to get a handful of investors to come together with a large number to cover an entire project or get it off the ground.

Related Documents: Engagement Tools, Junior Achievement