Fundraising tips and tricks that work! With Matthias Scheffelmeier 

by Mirabelle Morah / April 2022

Fundraising can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be so! Get tips and tricks from ChangemakerXchange’s Co-Founder who’s raised millions for social innovation.

Money can represent all kinds of values to people and I think knowing what the value of money is, is really the key to successful fundraising”.  ⏤ Matthias Scheffelmeier  

ChangemakerXchange’s (CXC) Co-Founder and Managing Director, Matthias Scheffelmeier shared several useful tips on fundraising during his SEWF 2021 Youth Forum Masterclass on Fundraising tips and tricks that work. In case you missed it, we’ve picked a few highlights from the session and put together this quick guide on how to become more efficient at fundraising and pitching to investors. 

Rather than focusing on only the material value of money, Matthias encourages social entrepreneurs to look beyond the traditional narrative and delve into a personal relationship with money; to start by reflecting on what money personally means to one as this is crucial. Fundraising “is really the process of exploring what value your work creates for various stakeholders and then exchanging that through the means of money”.  

Tip #1: Don’t just ask for money, find the value you create for others 

Making an impact is important for social entrepreneurs, however, the relationship one builds with stakeholders, other parties or members of one’s community when creating solutions is also important. One’s perspective as a social entrepreneur can differ from the investor’s and what the investor wants. Therefore, you need to understand who your potential investors are, research and learn not only about the pain points of your target audience and how you can solve their problems, but also understand what value your innovation and solution can create for a potential investor. 

Also read:  April's opportunities for global innovators and changemakers

 In Matthias’ opinion, fundraising is always relationship based. The successful formula for fundraising is about “clearly being able to communicate the impact that you create with your venture, but at the same time knowing what the other person sees in your work beyond the impact and beyond what can be seen on the package”.  In other words, show your investors the great value and benefits an investment with you will bring them. 

Tip #2: Respect yourself and don’t undersell – know your value 

In developing good relationships with partners and investors, it’s essential to understand the value one is giving or selling; to clearly convey this value and to be confident about it, especially as young changemakers. This is because “young changemakers trying to create a positive impact in the world have the greatest product that the world has to offer, which is purpose and impact”. Understanding your value and expressing confidence in your solutions and social enterprise can increase a potential investor’s confidence in your abilities to deliver. 

Tip #3: Be selective in who you work with 

Partnerships and investments (financial or otherwise) are important not only for showing credibility, but also allow for growth and sustainability. In growing a social enterprise and expanding, getting financial support is important but must never be at the cost of discarding an enterprise’s “true north” ⏤ real mission and vision. One must ensure that the vision and goals of a partner or investor are in alignment with their own vision and goals. Misalignment of goals and visions makes growth and partnerships difficult to navigate and can cause a rift in the relationship between both parties and even cost either of them the entire social enterprise. 

Also read:  May opportunities for social innovators

Tip #4: Technicality matters 

Pro-bono engagements can have a huge impact on social enterprises and can help save costs. It’s therefore good to remember that “saving costs is as good as funds raised”. As a social entrepreneur, one must maintain their entrepreneurial character and seek investors who believe in their mission without tying investments to expenditure requirements.  

In summary, Matthias makes it clear that finding the right investors and raising funds all come down to adequate research, preparation and having good communication skills. Maintaining partnerships and establishing a sustainable fundraising campaign are also useful skills to develop. We are also pleased to share with you a new addition to CXC’s Resources for Changemakers. The ChangemakerXchange Systemic Impact Resources is a collection of useful materials around the theory and practice of systemic impact. It contains links to articles, book recommendations, reports, videos, etc. that will give you examples and an opportunity to reflect on how you can amplify the positive impact of your work.

If you would like to listen to more tips and get the full masterclass on how to elevate your fundraising efforts, head to the SEWF Video Library to watch Matthias’ full masterclass.

 Transcribed and written by Tessa Porter 

Secured your Early Bird Ticket to attend SEWF22 digitally or in person in Brisbane, Australia? Here’s how to do that. Speaker nominations are now open! Recommend a speaker for SEWF22 (28-29 September) and SEWF Youth Forum (27 September) today. Deadline: 13 April.  

Mirabelle Morah is the community and communications manager at SEWF