Here’s everything you need to know while moving from the support of family, friends, crowdfunding to institutional funding. We learn the tricks of the trade on what works and what doesn’t with Vipin Sharma from ACCESS Development Services and K. Chandrasekhar from Forus Health who have raised 4 million and 17 million respectively.
Q. What was your first institutional funding experience -the thrills & challenges?
Q. Sans the advantages you had back then, what would be plan B?
Q. How often are you turned down by funders? What impact does it have on the business? What are the challenges faced while trying to maintain consistent numbers?
My sincere advice – Bloat and achieve.
For me, fundraising is a seasonal affair (not periodic). A great analogy to explain this would be the Life of Pi – you have the tiger, if you leave it, it may just come and bite you. Similarly with fundraising, once you have started, you need to ensure you are consistently working to achieve suitable results to justify the investments. Often what serves as a great source of motivation is the fulfillment of a mission and decent traction. That also attracts investors.
Q. Being a For-profit and Not-for-profit – is one better than the other?
Fundamentally your company should be driven on three pillars:
1. Innovation – Everything done should be driven by innovation. It should be your point of recognition when you walk into forums.
2. Impact – Whatever you do has to be impactful
3. Investibility – A company should be looked upon as an investible company for funders, stakeholders etc.
Q. Did you ever give investors and funders the dreaded – NO?
One fundamental rule should be: Don’t compromise on dignity. Believe that if someone is ready to provide the funds, it is nothing but a clear indication that you are competent enough. It is a two-way street – it’s not just you who needs them, they need you too. CSR investors look for competent companies that are hard to come by. So take pride in the fact that you are competent and view it through that lens.
In some cases, while implementing a program and a funder is not aligned with the idea, we have said no to funders. Because you need to be mentally aligned with the donor. Nothing should drive you away from your core competencies.
The Huddle is UnLtd India’s annual event that brings together our network of social entrepreneurs and key stakeholders in the ecosystem to leverage connections, build new collaborations and celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit. This article is drawn from the excerpts of the session conducted ‘ For the successors, by the success-ers: How to crack institutional funding.’