The world of sales and fundraising is not that different. You have to use a lot of the same tricks in the book to convince people. You have to sell a product, make phone calls, chase customers, find new customers, build relationships and always look at the bottom line.
There are just two main differences.
Lead generation is easier at a nonprofit but conversion is a lot more difficult. And you are changing lives if you succeed as a fundraiser.
Whenever we are selling something — mobiles or candidates (as a recruiter) or a computers as in my experience — the customer usually needs it. It was easy to make the sale. In return for their money, they get a product or service in their hands.
Having worked with organisations like Reliance and Dell, I observed that it is the quality of the product or the brand name that convinces people to set foot in the door.
But the relationship management skills that you use at a nonprofit while making a difference in the lives of people who need it the most are remarkably different in nature.
People may not be looking to support a cause. Their interest has to be piqued in the cause, they need to be convinced, they have to give their support not just morally but financially and the deal must be closed even if they may not get a tangible product in return.
It’s definitely more challenging.
But the positive is that people are inherently good and want to help. Sometimes, they don’t know how to and sometimes they don’t have the capacity to do it but ultimately everybody wants to do something good. It’s not difficult to talk to people but it might be difficult to get them to sign on the dotted line.
And if they can get a chance to see the impact that their contributions have helped create then they would be instantly sold.
In my previous roles where I raised funds for programs that empowered children from underprivileged communities, I remember how the kids would tell us what they wanted to become and how grateful they were. Being young, they did not fully grasp the situation but when you saw the hope in their eyes, when you saw them liking the program, you knew that the money was being put to good use.
And some of these children became mentors later on. Young boys or girls who would have led an ordinary life suddenly became heroes in their communities because of the funds we raised. You could see that some of these youngsters wanted to make a difference.
All of this was only possible because people decided to believe.
In my opinion, Rang De changes the equation as individuals support other individuals directly on the platform. That is a strong fundraising strategy. It is a stronger social strategy.
Usually, people give money to an NGO based on its brand name or reputation and let the NGO decide what to do with the money. At Rang De, a social or corporate investor has the ability to choose who they want to support whether an individual or a group or a geography.
They can also know what happened to the individuals they funded almost instantaneously with a phone call, email or even carry out a field visit.
Many corporations will appreciate this live model of choosing a community. Their contributions will be preserved in a revolving fund so the same money will keep on making a difference for years on end.
As corporations are looking to contribute to social organisations who focus on delivering both high-impact programmes and report the impact, we are probably one of the few NGOs who can do it at a very fast pace.
Repayment updates and stories flow in on a regular basis so there is not a long wait or a quarterly report to know what happened after the contribution was made.
Back in 2003 when I was at Reliance, it was at an exciting time as the mobile revolution was just kicking in and everyone wanted to get a phone. Right now, I think that the fintech revolution is similarly changing the way we live as we move towards a cashless economy and there is no better place than Rang De that can leverage this and change the way we give.
I am excited to be part of a challenge that can hopefully again redefine the way society works.
Dhimant is the head of the Empathy team that is responsible for corporate partnerships and engagement, fundraising for hundreds of communities in need and online fundraising strategies. The Empathy team is always keen to hear from working professionals, representatives of corporations or anyone else keen to partner with us at email@example.com.
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To comply with RBI regulations, Rang De’s lending operations are moving from rangde.org to our brand new platform rangde.in. Visit rangde.in to continue social investing.