Fundraising 101: How to Sell Your Idea

selling idea

We all remember those elementary school days when you had to fundraise for the classroom. All you needed to do was smile, give a one-minute embarrassing pitch, and hope that your family friend or neighbor found you adorable enough to donate a few dollars to your cause. While times have changed and the causes have altered, the concept for fundraising is the same. Donors look for that unique differentiated personable communication before they decide to donate. When you are fundraising for a cause, you are not just selling an idea, but also selling yourself.

So how do you fundraise? How can you make that sale?

One thing to remember is that personalization is a big key in gaining donor support. Like it or not, the minute you start talking, you become the spokesperson, the face, and the poster child for your organization. It is your job to captivate the crowd with your charisma and attitude. Be informative, but not too serious. And as always, be sympathetic. Think of this as if you are telling a story. If you were to look at the strongest fundraising campaigns, you would see how a majority of them start off with a story. It is that story that provides the necessary emotional appeal to get that person over the hump to donate.

Below, you will find five key concepts that can help you sell your idea. These helpful tips will guide you in creating a stronger, organic, and rich campaign for your organization to thrive on.

Be Informative

Before you start with your story, you want to make sure you know all of the facts. Providing valid and sound facts, statistics, and data about your cause can only aid you in your process. In addition, having this type of information gives your pitch stronger credibility. To do this, start with the bigger picture. Brainstorm your subject and write down information about the cause itself. Make sure you do your homework and provide an adequate amount of research. If possible, try and speak with one of the leaders of the campaign to gain more insight on the cause. The more you know about your topic, the more confident you will be providing this information to a layperson.

Articulate WHY the cause is important

Be absolutely clear in your pitch on the problem. Addressing the issue for your cause can oftentimes be overlooked in speeches. This type of problem happens because presenters usually assume that the audience already holds some type of knowledge on the topic. Do not make this assumption. The best way to nullify this problem is to assume that every person is a novice to the topic. When you are actually presenting the problem, make sure you are able to provide an adequate amount of information of why this concept is important. People can sometimes overlook the importance of the cause which can then sway their decision when donation. Stress the whys and play on the emotional appeal.

Show They are an Asset

Involving the audience throughout your pitch is a great way to get your audience engaged in your idea. In addition, discussing what impact they can have through their donations is something that should always be mentioned in any speech. People want to know what they are donating to. Make sure they are aware of that.

Become a Master Storyteller

As stated before, you are a storyteller. It is your job to get the crowd hanging on every single word. This idea of connecting with the audience’s head and emotion will play to your strengths as a public speaker. Utilize your body language to provide that vibrant message. In addition, throughout your speech, know when to pause, when to stress, when to be excited, when to be sad, and when to be angry. It is these acting techniques and social awareness that will allow you to captivate a crowd with simply your words.

Know Your Crowd

This is the idea of leveraging your strengths. Make sure you do your homework on the group you are talking to. Often times, you are going to need to change your story for a particular group. While the story changes, the message is the same. To change the story, you need to know the audience you are speaking with. For example, the way you would talk to a corporate event versus fresh college graduates about donating to their university will be a completely different situation. Look more into the person or groups career progression and pinpoint certain topics that can heighten their awareness.

Practice Makes Perfect

Now you have all heard this phrase before. But at the end of the day, it makes sense. Practice does make perfect. The more times you say your pitch, the more times you get a chance to internalize it. Having a deeper understanding of your speech can make you aware of the strengths and weakness of the entire situation. In addition, once you are able to internalize your pitch, you will be able to manipulate and optimize your speech to the most effective manner.

Crowdfunding: Leveraging the Digital World


One of the biggest hurdles many people find themselves when starting a project or fundraising for an idea is the financial capital to get them on the right path. Financial funding plays a large portion in the life and death of certain products. It is essentially how the world operates. But how can you find the funding if everything you had was invested in your product? How can you possibly establish yourself if you can’t even find the capital to finance your goals? The answer is simple; try crowdfunding.

Crowdfunding, also known as crowdsourcing, has become incredibly popular in the news and social media. Many startup companies, inventions, and even non-profit organizations have utilized this strategy to help increase their capital for their business. But what exactly is it?

By definition, crowdfunding is the practice of financially funding a project or venture through small amounts of donations from a large number of people, typically through the Internet. Think of this as online fundraising. For crowdfunding, there are two basic models. The first model is known as the rewards-based crowdfunding model. Rewards-based crowdfunding is where people can pre-purchase a product, buy various rewards, or simply donate to the company. For this concept, the donors are simply helping the cause. In comparison to rewards-based crowdfunding, the second model, equity crowdfunding, looks for donors to become shareholders in a company. In equity crowdfunding, a company will often sell ownership takes online to require the necessary funds to make them operational and profitable for the future.

Because of crowdfunding, many industries were able to grow exponentially over the past few years. In addition, crowdfunding sites were able to raise billions of capital for various campaigns such as charities, social impacts, consumer packaged goods, innovative inventions, games, startup companies, and much more. Without these sites, many modern ideas would not have made it to our homes.

Below, you will find some of the best crowdfunding sites to help aid you on your journey. Remember make your presence strong when you’re online. Donors want to know what they are investing in. Tell your story. Be strong and appealing. The best way to succeed with these sites is making your story appeal to people. Be empathetic, strong, and confident.


Kickstarter is one of the major crowdfunding sites to date. The service itself gets a lot of media attention. Kickstarter helps a variety of people is a range of interest. On this crowdfunding site, you can find artist, musicians, filmmakers, designers, charities, and consumer packaged goods that are trying to establish themselves in their congested markets. The one great thing about Kickstarter is that it is incredibly user friendly. In addition, no financial transactions are changed until time runs out or the project is fully funded. One thing to keep in mind is that Kickstarter takes 5% off the top and the rest goes to the inventor or creator to the campaign.


Indiegogo is one of the first and largest global fundraising sites that help individuals, businesses, and nonprofits raise money online. It allows people to activate their global community with their user-friendly dashboard. It has been estimated that over nine million people from all around the world visits Indiegogo on a monthly basis. Things to keep in mind are that the site takes 4% off the top of your fundraising if you reach your funding goal. In addition, the site offers reward-base crowdfunding encouraging creators and developers to offer perks for the community to help fundraise their projects.


Quirky is a crowdfunding site mainly meant for inventors and gadgets. The site itself has an excellent track record. The one upside to this is that the process of presenting your idea to the Quirky community is a bit more involved than the other sites. For you to create a campaign, you need to submit your idea to the Quirky community so that they can weigh in on whether or not the idea is financially and successfully tangible. The positive is that the Quirky community is incredibly active and engaged to build, develop, and produce ideas. Pricing is also on a sliding scale meaning that people who get in early can get lower prices. Last but not least, Quirky and manufacture the product in-house.


For those looking to help aid and donate to the education sector, take a look into DonorsChoose. DonorsChoose is a nonprofit organization that allows individuals to donate directly to teachers and their classrooms. This can vary from classroom projects, class trips or class resources to better aid the future leaders of tomorrow.


Rockethub is another large online crowdfunding platform. It users usually include a variety of people from music, business, science, arts, fashion, startups, and nonprofits. Rockethub combines a traditional crowdfunding site where individuals can promote and raise for financial capital in addition to larger sponsors such as corporate businesses and organizations that want to donate to a specific sector. The service itself takes out a 4% cut from the amount raised and is incredibly user friendly.