Finding funding is one of the one of the biggest challenges for early stage entrepreneurs, and lack of capital is what keeps many social entrepreneurs stuck. Yes, fundraising is challenging and can be stressful. However, it’s not so much the absence of capital that is the problem – investors are always looking for ways to diversify their risk and investment opportunities that offer a bigger return. In other words, the money is there. The question is, how are you going to find it?
Getting funding requires a blend of networking, presentation, and marketing skills, as well as a good measure of hustle. The investors are there, chances are you are just not connecting with them. Funding also has less to do with your business plan, and more to do with your reputation and trust. One startup tech entrepreneur said to me, “Investors don’t invest in ideas, they invest in people.”
In order to help you in your quest to raise capital for your social enterprise, I’ve curated the best interviews from the Entrepreneurs for a Change podcast on the subject of finding funding. Here is an overview, and we’ll continue to add more interviews to this list as our podcast grows.
Raising Venture Capital
Runa is a social enterprise that sources fair-trade, sustainably harvested guayusa tea from Kichwa producers in Ecuador for export to Western markets. In addition to gourmet tea, the company also produces energy drinks. Their mission is to improve livelihoods for indigenous farmers in the Amazon. Tyler Gage, Co-Founder of RUNA, discusses how he has been able to raise millions of dollars in startup capital from diverse funding sources, such as VC and angel investors, business plan competitions, the USAID, the German government, the Ecuadorian government, the Andean Development bank, and an assortment of NGOs. In this in-depth interview, Tyler explains:
- How convertible debt funding works
- What VC investors are looking for
- The keys to putting together a compelling investors deck
- How to find and connect with potential funders
Click here to listen to the interview & download Runa’s Investors Deck, if you need help putting together a winning deck for your social enterprise.
Pamela Hawley is a seasoned social entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience in the social enterprise sector. She is the founder & CEO of UniversalGiving, an award-winning social entrepreneurship organization that helps people give to and volunteer with vetted, quality opportunities all over the world. Unique to UniversalGiving, it takes no cut on donations — 100% of donations go directly to the cause. Pamela also co-founded VolunteerMatch, a nonprofit that has matched more than 4 million volunteers. Soon after in 1999, she launched VolunteerMatch Corporate, a customized version for corporations. Under her management, more than 20 Fortune 500 companies became clients, which contributed to 43% of the organization’s sustainability. In this interview, Pamela shares:
- How to get started finding venture capital funding.
- How to go about starting a new business – and raising money for it – if your previous venture failed.
- Strategies to approach previous investors for funding on your new business, even if you lost their investment the last venture.
- What it takes to get into a social enterprise incubator or accelerator, and how to evaluate whether one is a fit for your company.
Launch! With Scott Duffy, America’s Leading Expert on Launching New Businesses – Coming Soon
This interview covers:
- How to identify your ideal investor
- How to prepare for your big investor meeting
- Common mistakes founders make when landing their first investor meeting
Waka Waka which means “shine bright” in Swahili, is a social enterprise that is bringing light to desperate people in times of darkness. For every solar light or mobile solar charger purchased, they give one to a family in need somewhere in the world. In places like Haiti, Syria, and the Philippines. They partner with organizations like the IRC – the International Rescue Committee – to make sure WakaWaka units reach the families who need it the most as soon as possible. Waka Waka Co-Founder Camille van Gestel shares his incredible story of how WakaWaka raised over $700K on Kickstarter in 1 month, ranked themselves as one of the top 5 Kickstarter campaigns of all time, and provided light to over 60K Haitians impacted by the 2010 earthquake – all in one campaign. Covered in this interview:
- Powerful pre-launch strategies that made their crowdfunding campaign a massive success – and how you can model the same
- How to get your project ranked high in the Kickstarter system, so you can capitalize on the thousands of people in the Kickstarter community who are actively looking for cool things to fund.
- How to leverage “stretch goals” to engage their early backers to evangelize their campaign, boost their Kickstarter rankings, and vastly multiply their original funding goal.
- How much of a workload you are really signing up for when you launch a Kickstarter campaign.
Crowdfunding for the Rest of Us – with Bart Skorupa of Groundworks Opportunities – Coming Soon
This interview covers
- How to plan your crowdfunding campaign.
- Strategies to ensure donor commitment before your campaign even launches.
- Why offline fundraising is still a critical part of an online crowdfunding campaign.