Even when a proposal is high quality and aligned with the objectives of the group, it still is only about half way there to being successful. The success of a proposal also depends on the level of engagement and excitement the proposer is able to create around their proposal. The skill and knowledge of a group that is needed to create engagement around a proposal is often underestimated. As a person starting your first collaborative funding round, it is important you set the right expectations in your group for what it takes to get a proposal passed, and make them aware that creating engagement is part of the “work” they need to take into account.
Here are a few tactics you can share with the participants of your funding round to help them create engagement around proposals.
The more involved people are in a proposal before it is posted, the more engagement it will get. Raising your ideas early will enable others to contribute to the creation of your proposal, whether on online discussion channels, group calls or direct messages. A useful practice for facilitating this is creating a discussion channel that is dedicated to sharing unfinished ideas and looking for contributors.
Once your proposal is almost done, it’s a good idea to prepare targeted messages to share it with in the group. Make sure to explain why what you are pitching is relevant for them. How will this proposal affect the organization directly and why should they care? Maybe even consider writing slightly different messages for specific sub-groups, so you can highlight parts of you proposal that have an impact on them. This can be a lot of work, but the more targeted the message, the better!
Once you’ve posted your proposal on Cobudget, you need to communicate about it to others on the communication channels of the group. Don’t just rely on others seeing it in Cobudget, especially since people have short attention spans and the web offers so many distractions.
But remember: it’s important to find a balance between sending enough information and being pushy or “spammy”. The attention of people in your group is precious, so do not waste it by sharing an overflow of information. Your style of communication will help build trust with other participants and lay the foundation for your future proposals to get funded.
Depending on the type of group you are in, another useful way to garner support for your proposal may be to identify key people who are recognized in your group for their expertise and have influence on the subject of your proposal. Reach out to these influencers and ask them to publicly share your proposal or endorse it will help it get attention among the right audience.
Not matter how distributed or democractic the power structure in your organization may be, there are always leaders who have a formal or informal influence on others’ decisions.