It's interesting, I posted an entire series on my system for raising money and still when I sent the survey out this was the most requested topic. So I'll dig in again based on what I have learned about raising money in the last year.
So as I had stated previously, you need to decide if you are raising money for a Not for Profit or a commercial project and each option has its own challenges. This time around before I get into any of the specifics, I want to talk about what makes raising money easier and (gasp) even fun.
It really starts with you.
Take a second right now and answer the following questions honestly about yourself.
1. Do you enjoy being around other people?
2. Are you helpful to others?
3. Do you love hearing other people's stories and sharing those stories?
4. Do you go out of your way to go and see someone else's work?
5. Do you make big promises and keep them?
6. Do you volunteer to help out on projects and causes?
7. Do you have a group of people who believe in you and the things you stand for?
If you answered yes to the majority of these questions, then you are in a position to raise funds. If you answered no to most of these questions, it will be more difficult for you.
Notice in all of this there is no mention of how rich you are, how many clubs you belong to, or whether or not you graduated from a certain school. Those are all factors that may help you, but will be of little use if you are not willing to help others. Think of all of the great fundraisers you have met. Chances are that you enjoyed being in the room with them. They made you feel special and they took the time to get to know you and help you.
In times when our money is precious, we are predisposed to give to the people who we trust and who give to us. It's just natural.
One of my favorite stories is about how Bill Clinton would raise funds for his campaigns. He would take someone into his office and spend the entire time talking with them about the things they loved to do, about the person's family, passions etc. and at the end of the meeting he'd stop and say, "I'm so sorry we ran out of time to discuss the campaign, but I trust you to make a decision that works for you" and then end the meeting.
Before you decide to raise money, make sure that you are a complete person first. Take the time to support other causes, listen to someone's story about their children, and build a base of people who believe in what you say.
If you do, I promise that you will have less trouble when it comes time to ask for some money and many of those people will be happy to give it.
P.S.- If you are interested in Arts Entrepreneurship, a number of great speakers just signed on for our PLAE 2 day weekend intensive, I hope you'll join us. You can grab early bird tickets here. See you there!