I found a tool online that lets you calculate how much your gift range should be. Basically, how much should one person give, how many people do you need to give that amount, and how many prospects you need to find to get someone to give you that money.

No matter what sort of goal you have, some principles are the same:

  • One person gives the highest amount – 10% of the goal.
  • The goal then descends steadily – 2 groups of 3 people each, then 2 groups of 5, two groups of 7, 1 group of 10, and everyone else. The 1 group of 10 gives your minimum set amount, around 1% I think. However, your “everyone else” group (the ones who give less than the set minimum – for instance, less than $25) will be the biggest group, even if they’re only giving 0.1%.
  • For each donor you anticipate, you need to find at least 4 prospects. So if you need 1 person to give you $X, you need to ask at least 4 people. This can and will be more when dealing with the “less than set minimum” amount.

With the charts I’ve made so far (under progress; I’ll post them up soon) I need to find around 180-200 people to ask for money. From there, I should expect only 50 people (or less!!) to respond favourably.

This worries me, because I don’t know enough generous people to make those numbers. The people I know would give $1 maybe, but not more. They’d probably give more to a more selfless cause, like Save the Whales or something. (then again, when I shaved my head to raise money for leukaemia, my best college friends gave me less than $5 each. And these were rich kids. Their excuse? They couldn’t see me with a bald head. Granted, most of my donations came after I shaved, and being the only girl in my group that shaved helped. But still.) And it’s really awkward to ask from people you know. Most fundraising experts say they’re the best source of money, but many people are now jaded and think it’s exceedingly rude.

I’ve tried the “give me money online” route and that didn’t go so well either. Even if I sell off my possessions, it wouldn’t even make 1%. I’m currently looking for foundations and grants that I can apply to, but there doesn’t seem to be very many (one contact did connect me to the SPIN and JASON databases, which would be helpful – but JASON only has postgrad study and SPIN requires an admin to approve me. Uh. I hope they don’t realize I’m just an undergrad…)

This leaves either loans or corporate sponsorship. I was raised never to borrow money from anyone. I would borrow a dollar or $5 for a meal when I was short (especially in Brisbane, where I would usually use EFTPOS debit instead of cash) but pay them back one way or another. Loans, on the other hand, seem offputting. I’d rather not go into debt for this, particularly since I don’t quite know where I’ll be after this program. I could get a really good high-paying job, like most KaosPilots do. But if I follow my aspirations, I’d most likely be setting up my own programs or businesses, and that often takes MORE money. The interest itself would kill me!

Corporate sponsorship, then, looks like the best option. How do I do this though? When I tried to launch my (now-dormant) alternative education project, Brick In The Wall, I sent my proposal to a few random Malaysian companies, and ASTRO actually called me back because they were interested in sponsoring us. However, as idealistic as we all were, we didn’t have a budget and we didn’t have a clear plan. Which ASTRO wanted. So no money for us.

At least now I have a budget, and the Gift Range chart should help me somewhat. I’ll need to do extensive research on the companies I can approach, and who in the company I can approach. The main issue I have with Malaysian companies is that many of them haven’t even heard of the KaosPilots, and are therefore sceptical. I’d have better luck if I said I was going to Harvard! Everyone loves Harvard. The Businessweek article about the Top 100 D-Schools should help me with this though.

As I was writing this entry, I got an email from BrainStore.Com, a Swiss innovation/ideas company. They will be organizing a workshop at the Youth Social Enterprise meeting at the GK3 conference in KL this coming week, where I’ll be working as the PR/Media volunteer. I’ve been invited as 1 of 60 young people to contribute to the workshop. This is surprising, because I’m just a volunteer not a full-blown participant, but hopefully a good sign!!! At least I have one more contact now, woo 🙂