Strategic BSD Fundraising
BSD Fund Logo

You are more influential than you think!

A few tips for helping fund the efforts you love from within your organization

You may very well be the greatest fundraiser your organization has ever known.

  • You're there
  • You engage at least one level of its organizational structure
  • You see activities that are not visible from the outside

Outside fundraisers are at a severe disadvantage, even if the organization has an official sponsorship contact – not unlike the HR "black hole" at many tech companies!

Rest assured, fundraising engagement does not begin with asking for money, to which the answer is statistically, "no". It begins with questions like:

  • "Do we sponsor any events or projects?"
  • "Do you know which ones?"
  • "Why don't we?" "Why did we stop?"
  • "Who should one talk to about sponsorships?"

No matter how shy you are, all but, "Why don't we?" are pretty non-controversial questions. If these questions result in a contact and you prefer not engage any further, simply relay that information to an event or project organizer, or I am happy to help.

If you are willing to engage further, I suggest leading with your passion or your needs:

  • "We wouldn't be able to pull this project off without this new upstream feature. Can we say thanks in some way?"
  • "I wouldn't be here without the project|event. Can we thank them?"
  • "We need to know where the project is headed. Can my team attend this event and perhaps sponsor it?"
  • "We need to grow our team and I think we should recruit at this event, possibly as a sponsor."

That last one is critical. When the 2008 global financial crisis ground the original BSD Fund effort to a halt, the only remaining discretionary funds that organizations had left were earmarked for recruitment. BSD conferences are rarely sources of new customers, but they are excellent sources of talent, directly or indirectly. I've even seen PLUG speakers get hired shortly after giving presentations.

That all said, the worst that a potential sponsor can say is, "No", and they routinely do. There is truth however to the saying, "The third one's the charm" given that polite persistence shows initiative. You wouldn't be asking if you didn't care. You simply need to help your organization care.

Related... if you've never been to a BSD conference, I invite you to read this article I wrote in 2012 on the topic.

Please do not hesitate to reach out about this topic as I invested three years of my life directly into it and have had a decade to recalibrate – Michael

“I am always happy to see another source of funding for BSD.” – Kirk McKusick

Copyright © 2008 – 2023 Michael Dexter. All rights reserved.