So you have identified possible funding avenues for raising funds for your startup venture. You have made a plan to achieve your fundraising goals. Depending on the source, you can opt for pitching for your project in person or a written application. In both cases, it is often a good idea to have some homework done. Few things you might consider doing before your start applying.
1- Assess your achievements so far
Look at your successes so far. Do you have a successful pilot-project? Did you put your idea to practice. What are the results? Would people like to know more about these results? These are a few questions you might want to look at before working on your pitch.
If your initiative is in the idea phase, then you would need to focus on why you are the best person/team to execute such a project. Look at how your experience, expertise or strategic uniqueness (contacts, network, geographical background and/or location) makes you the perfect candidate for leading or starting such an initiative. For example, you want to start an e-Health initiative in rural Africa, and your strength would be that you have worked or lived in that region for a decade.
2- Put yourself in donor’s shoes:
It is a good exercise to put yourself in the prospect donor’s shoe. If you were approached with a similar idea or project, would you be interested to know more about it? Moreover, would you donate some money for such an initiative. If not, think of ways to make your pitch or presentation more compelling?
3-Practice your pitch:
Practice your pitch with a trusted friend or family member. Talk to your friends and family about your pitch and see their reaction. It will give you a lot of pointers to improve your pitch or approach. It will give you a good overview of next steps. After that go to the prospect donors.
4- Study the eligibility criteria
I am not kidding here; so many organisations end up wasting time on submitting projects that are not funded by the donor they have applied to. Donor agencies have guidelines and eligibility criteria. Make sure you have studied them before you decide to apply. If it is a private person or business, make sure you know something about them and their ideas. Would they fund such a project or does it contradict with what they stand for? This will save both your and their time and you can focus on the next funding option on your list.
I hope you found these tips useful. What is your experience with pitching for a new initiative? Please share in the comments section below.