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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

"How can I grow this thing and make it strong?"

1. Understand that money fuels growth

even for non-profits. You need money to get started and money to expand.

2. Recognise where that money is coming from.

For the most part, it will come from two different sources: affluent do-gooders and governmental agencies. These, then, are your "customers." For the first few years, you will have to spend most of your time and effort "selling" them on donating money to your non-profit. Most non-profit entrepreneurs don’t do that. In the early stage of their venture, they spend the lion’s share of their time developing programmes - more programmes than they need to get the money
3. To get government money, it’s a relatively simple process:
Investigate grants that would apply to your concept, and apply for them. It will be cumbersome and time-consuming - but if you are willing to follow the rules, you should be able to get some funding.
4. Will that government funding be fast enough and big enough to float your boat?

Probably not. And that’s where private money comes in. To get private sources to fund your dream, you are going to have to come up with a very engaging USP (unique selling proposition). In other words, you’ll have to come up with a concept that is in some exciting way new and different from that of other, similar non-profits.

5. To come up with that USP, I’d recommend that you find out as much as you can about organisations that support young girls in urban centres.

There are probably hundreds (if not thousands) of them. Find out who they are and which are the most successful. Call the people heading up the most successful ones and interview them. Be gracious. Make friends. They will help you later.

6. Study the theory behind organisations like these.

Be able to quote persuasive data in casual conversation. Give yourself the goal of becoming one of the world’s top experts in the niche you are entering. If you spend 5,000 hours studying and talking to professionals in your field, you will rise to that level.

7. Locate affluent people in your community. Find out where they socialise.

Find out where they work. Meet them at parties and events and chat them up. Send them personal letters. E-mail them. Your initial goal should not be to raise money. If you come at them directly, they will back away. Remember, wealthy people are always being hit up for donations. They are good at refusing - but less so when they are being asked by someone they like and trust. You have to become that someone. How can you do that? By developing relationships with them that are based on them talking to you.

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