Important points to consider while raising funds through CSR
Fundraising is one of the most important tasks for a NGO. Funds raised by the NGO to support its mission and objective are the lifeline that keeps the passion for the actual mission going strong. CSR is one of the ways through which NGOs can raise funds for their projects. Here are some of the things that NGOs should keep in mind while fundraising from Corporates.
Do your research and find areas of alignment
After you have met the CSR team from the corporate, do your research thoroughly. If they have had previous CSR engagements, understand the nature of those and in which areas has it been. Find an area of alignment early and draw upon that. Most of the big organizations list their focus areas on their website.The alignment between your objectives and the corporates CSR policy must run deep. The deeper the alignment, the stronger the possibility of association.
Focus on a long term engagement proposal
Apart from the usual solution program bit of your proposal, focus on strong outcomes and detailed usage of funds deployed. Make sure to keep in mind that most CSR funding is for a year and renewable on an annual basis. Apart from this, the sustainability of the projects is a key factor that organizations look for to make sure that the intervention is not reliant on their funding and will carry on post the grant period. Corporates prefer projects that are in and around their office or factory site. You don’t need to change a program to match their alignment, but implementing a pilot in their area of interest can be a good one year project to begin with.
Understand who is the decision-maker
While you are interacting with the organization, be mindful of who has the final say and try to get an audience with her or him. Often, if you are stuck in a conversation with mid or junior level personnel, they cannot call the shots or push your case across. The deciding power is usually with the Directors in the CSR committee of the organization, and while it is no easy feat reaching them, it is an absolute must to push the paperwork. Most organizations have a strong and deep-seated hierarchy, and jumping a few levels up in your communication will only help you fast track the process.
Understand the Corporate’s motivation to work with you
In conversations with the corporate, probe, and understand why they are working on the given focus areas or geographies to understand their story. Be mindful of the fact that the main reason that corporates want to invest in your organization is because of its impact. Build a story around it, and be sure to showcase the social benefits well, as well as impact numbers, even though numbers projections are what we despise!
Be ready for multiple follow-ups
While organizations are eager to spend their CSR, it is not their top priority, and they have many other issues occupying their plate. Most of the companies are only recently forming their CSR teams and their idea of ‘social responsibility’ is tree planning and donating books to the government schools. Be mindful of this; make sure that the alignment is strong and reiterate it multiple times in your interactions with them. Be persistent with your follow ups. Patience is the major key in the fundraising, and 100 times more so in corporate engagements.