Goodpush Member

When you try to raise money for a social skateboard project, there are a few tips that I'd like to share from my experience trying to raise money for Skateistan. 

1) Don't try to convince someone that doesn't get it. Some people don't appreciate skateboarding at all and that is their loss. Because you have limited time and energy it is much better to concentrate on people that are stoked on your project. If someone says "convince me" it is very tempting to try to do that but ultimately you are better off spending the time searching for people that are excited by your idea and building your relationship with them. 

2) Diversify your funding sources. Don't rely on one source of income, because if it dries up then you are stuck. Try as much as possible to have at least three sources of income at all times. Don't ever rely on a donation until you have actually received it. Sometimes people promise money that doesn't come through.

3) Have a long term view. Try to engage donors that are potentially interested in a long term relationship. Obviously this takes effort on both sides but it is worth it.

4) Don't accept more money than you know how to spend well or accept money for something that doesn't make sense to you. It can be tempting to receive large amounts of money or equipment but unless you know how to spend every cent or use every donated item really well you could be getting yourself into trouble. The donors will rightly want to know the impact of their donation and you will need to be able to explain in detail how it was used. 

5) Underpromise and over deliver. This will give you a good reputation and a good reputation means you can attract more and higher amounts of funding in the future. Bring a long term vision to all of the fundraising work that you do. 

6) Donors and projects are equal. The work should always be guided by what the need is - not guided by only what a donor is interested in. Donors love tying their money to certain things, however you may have more expertise than they do about how funds should be spent and you should be firm but fair in your negotiations. Always keep donors at eye-level and as equals. Both the donor and the person or organisation doing the work are partners and there has to be mutual respect for the relationship to work. 

Comments

I would add to the excellent tips above:

 1 - Start from the top. No need to feel shy reaching out to the top dogs if there's a potential funder or organization you want to collaborate with. Look for the highest person in charge to champion your cause from the top down if it's possible. 

2 - Learn to work with authority figures. Sure, historically (and currently) authority figures and skateboarders haven't been the best of friends, but politicians, ministries and other government officials can be your best allies when looking for land for a new skatepark or a building to run your program from. Reach out for meetings and when you get one, put on a nice shirt, make eye contact, shake hands. These people can help you get stuff done.