Fundraising can elicit different emotions, depending on the personality of a person. If you’re outgoing and extroverted, asking people to invest and support your projects can be a walk in the park. You’ll gladly attend the next networking event or invite high-profile leaders to your home and show off your kitchen’s quartz countertops. On the other hand, more introverted and thoughtful individuals will balk at the task and volunteer for different roles to escape the dreaded social interaction. They might also come off as awkward since they’re not used to fundraising and community-building.
No matter what one thinks about fundraising, its impact on business can’t be treated lightly. Without needed resources, companies won’t create life-changing products and services that the world will enjoy. Finding the right donors and investors willing to stake their claim to a business is a coveted skill. It takes patience and understanding to give committed care and cultivation for them to say yes. Having one fundraising event is not enough to build a community of supporters. Here are other ways that business leaders can jeopardize investor relationships:
Talking too much about your company
It’s logical to focus on showcasing the achievements and track record of your company to investors. Mentioning successful high-profile projects will give the organization an air of credibility and accountability, which can earn people’s trust and attention. While these are critical information, talking too much about it can also backfire. You’re disregarding the interest of the people you’re talking by not answering why they should care or what it is in for them. Presenting a story where the investor is akin to a hero to your organization will make the pitch more powerful. They are an active player engrossed in the company’s story of success, instead of a passive audience watching from the sidelines.
Seeing donors as ATMs
Sometimes, it’s hard to think of donors as more than the company’s source of funding, especially when a lot of things are happening. Organizations that do this stand to lose their supporters as the lack of authenticity is strongly felt in the interactions and communications. A study by Adrian Sargeant showed that donors, in the non-profit setting, stopped being a supporter when they thought they weren’t needed anymore or were never acknowledged more than a simple thank you. Fundraising is more about relationship building than asking people for money. Who would you give your hard-earned cash to? Someone who’s been your long-term friend or a stranger with a good pitch but has a cold manner?
Favoring gut feeling over data and segmentation
Not all investors, existing and potential, have the same preference for interaction and communications. Some donors contribute a large chunk to the company’s budget while there are smaller investors who reliably support the organization. Businesses should have specific policies on how they should treat these different kinds of people, which is based on data and research. Gut feeling and anecdotes can only take you so far, compared to hard raw information. Investors will also appreciate it if you can remember small details about them, such as sending cakes during their birthdays or congratulating them after a good golf game.
Fundraising is a skill that every business leader must learn, as investors are the lifeblood of every new venture. Knowing how to navigate the terrain can spell the difference between operating with a large budget and struggling to make ends meet.