Here are seven creative fundraising options you should consider when looking to infuse your startup with capital:
1. Crowd or Community Funding
The tradition of raising funds through numerous small donations or investments is an ancient one, and is a practice that persists today. Artists have done that throughout history, calling their donors or supporters"Patrons," which inspired the name of a popular crowdfunding site you may have heard of ; "Patreon."
Setting up a community funding campaign is easy, and there are many sites that can allow you do so efficiently. If you have enough social media clout, you can do it manually. Your main concern is convincing people to fund a brand new company. That goal can be accomplished largely through information.You need to teach potential donors about your startup's story, as well as what you are creating and what change it aims to create. The more informed you can make customers, the better a case you can make for your company.
2. Win a Contest
Many larger companies or entities want to give back to the world that allowed for their success, which is why some of them hold contests specifically targeted at startups and small businesses. The prize often involves some form of funding, and may also include support from the contest runner.
Often, all you need is your pitch and a sample of your product. More prestigious contests require a detailed business plan as well. If it is a televised contest such as a reality show, or in some way well-known, you can also get early exposure as a bonus. Even if you don't win, getting the word out on your startup may be worth the effort, as it can convince other entities to consider your company for investment.
3. Rent Out Space
If you are fortunate enough to have a home too large for your needs, you can use it to generate a healthy supply of capital. Renting out a few rooms can give you a lot more cash than you would think. Just make sure to keep your ideas and personal belongings safe as you do so.
4. Sell Extra Items
Over the course of your life, you may have come across any number of items that you no longer need for one reason or another. Selling them off might not give you a lot of money - unless you are fortunate enough to have received extremely valuable trinkets over the past years - but any little bit can help.
There are many places you can sell your items, from Ebay to Amazon to Instagram. Make sure your items are in good condition before offering them up,and double check on the internet to ensure you are selling them for a fair price.
5. Find Trades Whenever Possible
Sometimes fundraising is not about getting capital, but getting a valuable item without having to spend for it. For example, instead of purchasing resources from a manufacturer, you can instead trade your skillset. If you are a great graphic designer, you can design something for them for a free shipment of materials. Even if all the deal comes down to is a discount,it is still essentially getting "capital" for your startup, as you get something the company needs for less cost.
6. Host a Fundraising Event
When you need money, sometimes the best option is to hold an event that gives people a reason and the opportunity to donate to you. Hosting a fundraising event such as a dinner or a concert can get you a lot of capital,and with a few smart moves, you can get other businesses to sponsor different aspects to drive up your potential profit. Promote it on social media anda nnounce it through news outlets to maximize participation.
Unfortunately, a fundraising event only works if you have a strong personal brand or a spectacular idea. Your startup has no history to draw from,so you cannot use it as to tempt people into joining your event. If you don't have a strong personal brand yet, you can try reaching out to a celebrity or influencer you know and having them help promote the occasion.
7. Online Lending
Non-traditional lending services such as those online can be a boon to you. While they do have some requirements, generally they are not as picky or as stringent as a bank would be. Online lenders are also much faster. The application process can often be accomplished in under an hour, and you will know the result within a few days. That speed is critical, as knowing whether or not an online lender has approved your application can let you move on to other fundraising opportunities faster.
Fundraising is a critical part of running a startup, and it's also something you will likely do more than once. The first time is will probably be to just get your entrepreneurial career startup, but you will potentially need to look for more capital when the time comes to scale your business. The sooner you understand and realize the variety of ways you can generate capital, the better off your business will be.