Global fintech and funding innovation ecosystem

5 Deal-Breaking Mistakes to Avoid When Pitching for Money

NCFA Guest post | Gloria Kopp | Sep 14, 2017

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When you're trying to fund a project with invested money, you need to ensure you're doing everything you can to enlist the most help from the most donors so that your project gets the funding it needs and can proceed on time as planned. Deficiencies in funding can significantly impact how quickly something is completed, and a lack of funding can totally kill projects in some cases. When you steer clear of these deal-breaking mistakes in your fundraising appeal letter, you'll give yourself the best chances of reaching your fundraising goals.

Not naming your contributors as the difference-makers

You may be organizing the project, but the backers (donors or investors) are the ones who are financing it and making it possible, so it's essential that you acknowledge that in your letter. If they're regular contributors, make sure they know you've noticed that. Something as simple as thanking them for their support since the (specific) day they made their first contribution can let them know that you're grateful for their help. You'll also want to make them aware of what their current donation will be put towards. When you let them know what they've already helped to accomplish and what they're currently helping with, they are instilled with a sense of fulfillment and pride.

“Emphasis the 'you' in your letter – leave yourself and what your own organization's part out of it for the most part. Of course, without financial contributions, your fundraising project would go nowhere, so they truly are the difference-makers” – says Fred Davis, an Operation Manager at State of Writing.

Using fear to sell them on contributing

Don't focus on the negative, or what will happen if you aren't able to pull together the funding for your project. If you start doing that, your potential donors could be hesitant about contributing because they may not have confidence in you to reach those goals. Instead, focus on all of the good that will come once the target fundraising amount has been reached – write your letter with the tone that reaching your goal is not out of reach.

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Painting a bleak picture of a negative outcome does nothing to inspire donors to join your cause. You want people to feel excited about the possibilities that lie ahead, not scared about what might happen.

Not getting to the point

If you're asking someone to contribute money to your cause, there's a good chance that others are doing the same. For this reason, you'll want to keep your fundraising appeal letter short and to the point, because they typically won't have the time to dedicate to reading a lengthy letter. James Atchison, a PR Manager and a contributing author at Huffingtonpost shares the opinion:

“Not only that, but they may lose interest in it before they reach the end. Be mindful of the busy schedules your contributors may be keeping by sending them a short letter that gets right to the heart of the matter.”

Assuming familiarity

Of course, you yourself should be well versed on the topic you're asking to be funded. But, there's no reason why your contributors should know anything about it, especially not from the first letter they receive. Assuming a certain level of familiarity with an issue or project can lead to miscommunication and information just going over your donor's heads. In a fundraising letter to build a new youth center, you probably don't want to introduce the concept by talking about the specifics of the building. You'll want to instead talk briefly about the need for the youth center to begin with. Specifics are great, but not to someone who has no knowledge of the cause to begin with. “To start with, the basics are great, and if there's interest you can provide more information after. The goal is to get them interested and excited, not to leave them scratching their heads and dismissing you” – comments Valentina Tighe, an Outreach Manager at Academized.

Leaving out the essentials

A well composed fundraising letter has four key components. Having all of these in your letter helps increase your chances of seeing success in your fundraising efforts. These include a single, concise message; facts that can support anything you've said; an inspirational factor that drives donors to get involved; and a clear and straightforward call to action.

See:  Hacking the Startup Fundraising Matrix

A good fundraising letter versus a bad one can have an enormous impact on the financing your project ultimately receives. Avoid these deal-breaking mistakes and help boost your chances of fundraising success.

Gloria Kopp - 5 Deal-Breaking Mistakes to Avoid When Pitching for MoneyGloria Kopp is an eLearning consultant and a content manager at Big Assignments. She loves sharing her professional advice in her posts at HuffingtonPost and Paper Fellows blog. Besides, Gloria writes Studydemic educational blog for students and educators.  

NCFA Jan 2018 resize - 5 Deal-Breaking Mistakes to Avoid When Pitching for Money The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit:

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