Face to Face Fundraising for NGOs in India

Face to Face Fundraising for NGOs in India

Face to face fundraising in India can be both challenging and exciting. With a large demographic of internet users, the average educated citizen in India is tuned in to various social and environmental issues. It’s great if your charity is able to engage masses towards your cause on social media. However, meeting potential donors in person through face to face fundraising is an effective long-term strategy when it comes to raising funds for your cause.

DDII helps your charitable organisation build effective strategies by providing customised inputs on branding, visibility and marketing of your organisation’s cause. Focussing on these aspects ensures that your non-profit clearly stands out in the philanthropic ecosphere.

The Essentials

Face to face fundraising occurs in three main ways – street fundraising, door-to-door fundraising and venue fundraising. Each of these direct dialogue methods have their own advantages, offering your non-profit a chance to meet different demographics and spread awareness about your cause and secure funds to meet your budgetary goals for a particular campaign. It is worth noting that fundraisers do not take cash, but instead sign people up to be monthly or recurring donors to build a secure financial base for your non-profit’s cause.

Let’s analyse each of these face to face fundraising methods and discuss their merits:

  • Street Fundraising

As the name suggests, street fundraising involves meeting potential donors in public spaces such as a busy road, a park, or market. This form of face to face fundraising is a very familiar sight in large Indian metros such as Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore.

Street fundraising professionals usually operate in teams – each consisting of around 4-5 individuals. The aim of a street fundraiser is to approach as many passers-by as possible in a single day and pitch your NGO’s cause to secure a donation. In its very essence, street fundraising casts a wide net to attract prospects towards your non-profit’s particular campaign.

  • Door-to-Door Fundraising

Quite simply put, this form of face to face fundraising involves similar teams of professionals covering a single residential area or township by knocking on doors and seeking to have a conversation with a select demographic. Here, the approach is similar to street fundraising and a number of home owners and residents are engaged in a single day.

Door-to-door fundraising offers a very personal approach to spread awareness about your charity and its cause. It also has the advantage of narrowing down your donor demographics and selectively targeting individuals with a higher degree of known affluence. For example, if your non-profit organisation seeks to raise funds from well-off individuals in Delhi, DDII’s trained fundraising professionals will most likely engage with people in the upmarket neighbourhoods of Greater Kailash and other localities in South Delhi.

This form of face to face fundraising requires obtaining permissions from gated communities and residential societies for a planned activity on premises. Such activities are also generally planned on holidays and weekends so that interactions can happen during the residents’ free time.

  • Venue Fundraising

In this method, fundraising professionals approach prospective donors at a specific location such as a corporate office or mall, where permissions to conduct fundraising activity are obtained beforehand. These are usually day-long events, whereas street and door-to-door fundraising campaigns can be conducted over longer periods of time.

The advantage of venue fundraising, especially in offices, is that your NGO is able to access a vast pool of financially stable prospects who may not be aware of your cause but would be willing to make regular donations. You can also profile the target segment better and accordingly approach a suitable type of corporate for fundraising.

Face to face fundraising – an Indian context

India’s growth story is truly fascinating. What used to be a primarily agriculture-based state half a decade ago is today one of Asia’s leading economies, making confident strides in manufacturing, technology, and entrepreneurship, offering consumer products and services of all hues with global quality.

If it’s a windfall for large corporate organisations, non-profits also need to sit up and notice that a growing economy is hoisted up by a large, educated workforce with rising income levels. Today, there are around 600 million young people in India, with numbers rising each day. This demographic is of utmost interest to global marketers as a large swathe is employed in various capacities and has access to disposable income, along with aspirations drawn from the West.

Most financial support for charities is extended by donors of a slightly older demographic (30+ years of age). This set has the added quality of being reliable donors who are able to pledge regular amounts of funds towards your cause.

Combine this with cultural factors such as generosity towards the less-privileged and a willingness to strike a conversation with absolute strangers and India proves to be a fertile ground for face to face fundraising. Your NGO truly stands to meet its budget goals towards a charitable cause, provided you work with efficient fundraising teams. Direct Dialogue Initiatives India (DDII) has immense experience in partnering with civil society organisations to design campaigns, build a strong donor base and develop sustainable financial support models for their causes.

Face to Face Fundraising – Techniques and Tips

Direct dialogue is an essential component of face to face fundraising. Whether you choose to build a donor base for your NGO on the street, going door to door, or at a specific venue, the quality of your fundraising professionals will determine the conversations around your cause and eventual outcome. Trained fundraising professionals are an absolute must for your non-profit’s long-term goals.

Face to face fundraising happens through a conversation between a fundraising pro and a pool of prospective donors. A good fundraiser approaches prospects with confidence and engages them in a conversation around your non-profit’s cause. The pitch is delivered by adjusting her/his approach to the reactions of the prospect on the street. As such, fundraising professionals need to be communication experts who can also decipher subtle gestures in a potential donor’s body language or other non-verbal cues.

Street fundraising is more of an art than science. The fundraising professional is adept at reading subtle cues such as appearance and way of walking, which sometimes indicate a person’s financial ability to donate as well. A prospect’s appearance and things they carry (laptop bags, company ID card etc) offer insights into whether they are employed (and able to donate). Street fundraisers mostly approach prospects above 25 years of age.

On the busy streets of India, conversations are often lost in the collective din of vehicles, horns and a million other sounds. Fundraising professionals not only utilise their verbal skills but also accentuate your charity’s pitch through non-verbal devices such as friendly eye contact, listening skills and positive body language. But before you speak to a potential donor, how do you get them to stop and listen to you?

A professional fundraising team is well-coordinated, groomed and trained to instil confidence in a prospect’s eyes. Teams usually are dressed similarly (in t-shirts or jackets that have your NGO’s logo) and carry official ID cards from your organisation. This automatically makes them stand out from the crowd.

Trained fundraisers also know how to personalise their approach towards breaking the ice with a prospect. Above all else, fundraisers are the most passionate advocates of your charitable cause and this passion seeps through when engaging in dialogue with a prospect – wherever such an interaction may happen.

Plan of Action

The importance of professional fundraisers for your face to face fundraising campaign cannot be overstated. However, it’s also important to have a professional approach and plan towards raising funds for your non-profit.

Whether you are a small charity organisation or a well-known NGO, DDII helps you devise and implement effective campaigns around your environmental or social justice cause. We provide professional services such as fundraising, marketing and associated back end services to help organisations secure and retain donors, engage them more deeply in their work through excellent communications and donor care, in order to maximise loyalty and life-time value. We also have a great reputation when it comes to recruiting, training and deploying professional fundraisers who are as passionate as you about public health, child education, environment, and social justice among several other charitable causes. At DDII we don’t just work with NGOs; we empower organisations that strive to make the world a better place.

Face to face fundraising is no doubt an excellent tool to raise funds for your NGO. Statistically speaking, a charity that uses face to face fundraising is known to generate three times the revenue invested in hiring fundraisers and other administrational expenses. There’s a reason why this traditional form of fundraising is still relevant today.