Fundraising Fundamentals 
Your Documentary Fundraising Team

Sneak Peak!  This page is a free section from Lights, Camera, Pitch! Documentary Cash-Winning Guide compliments of the instructor.

By: Faith Fuller

Why do you need a documentary fundraising team

Here's the secret to fundraising. If you are trying to raise even $5,000, recruit people to help you. In fact, having multiple people on your team is a fundraising strategy in and of itself.

Funders are more inclined to support a project with multiple team members vs. a lone ranger.

By the simple act of expanding your team, you automatically expand your reach to potentially more donors.

WHO you choose for your documentary fundraising team depends on what fundraising strategy you decide to go with.

Your fundraising team for a crowd-funding/internet campaign may look very different than a fundraising team trying to reach individual wealthy donors. You may even decide to have several fundraising teams for different campaigns. In general, having 3-4 people on a fundraising team is ideal.

Who Should Be On Your Documentary Fundraising Team?

  • People who are connected to the business community and to others with money. Lawyers, CEO's, bankers, sales professionals, experienced fundraisers and wealthy spouses are great choices. A communications or development director for an organization who will benefit from your documentary.

  • Potential major donors; those who are not daunted or intimidated by large projects and large sums of money.

  • Friends, family, colleagues and others who are passionate about your project and passionate about connecting you with people who have funding.

  • Get some “gray hair” on your team. Often the best fundraising opportunities come from existing relationships where the trust and credibility are already established.

  • Consider contacting a sales agent. Even though a sales agent typically helps sell your film and negotiate with distributors once your film is completed, they may be able to help you with fundraising and pre-sales. In fact, getting a sales agent involved in the beginning can give you a head start with distribution. Sales agents are usually well-connected sociable creatures and they know the money-side of the filmmaking business.You can find sales agents by looking through the trades' listings during the American Film Market(AFM) or you can access a database of sales agents & film buyers inside the Selling To Netflix Course.

How do you recruit these “money people” on your team?

If someone is raising money on your behalf, first and foremost there needs to be a strong sense of trust. They are using their good name to put their neck out there for you. They will need to have trust in you personally and in your abilities to handle the project.

Ways To Find Influential People For Your Documentary Fundraising Team

  • Attend events where influential people mingle such as Chamber of Commerce functions.

  • Join or become a member of organizations and associations that relate to the subject of your film.

  • Attend events relating to the topic of your documentary such as conferences and seminars.

  • Pinpoint influential people connected to the topic of your documentary and write them a letter asking if you could meeting with them for a few minutes to tell them about your project and ask for advice. Build a relationship with them and become their friend.

  • Research popular blogs on the topic of your film

People WANT to help you

There are plenty of people in the world who can help you. In fact, they WANT to help you.

For the same reasons people donate to documentaries (more about that in the fundraising course), they want to volunteer and give their time – either for the status, because they believe in you or they believe in the cause.

Whatever the reason, it makes people feel good to help and contribute. For some, it's an ego boost to be asked for help and advice. Don't deny them that opportunity. You've got something unique that people would love to be involved with.

When asking someone for help, adopt the mindset that you are actually doing people a favor when asking them to donate or volunteer with your project.

There is a deep human need to give back. By offering someone an opportunity to be involved in something bigger than themselves, it has great potential to bring that person joy, build dignity and create a sense of pride. Why would you deny someone that?

Free Sneak Peak! Documentary Fundraising Course

You have just read a free section from the Lights, Camera, Pitch! Documentary Cash-Winning Guide.

If you found this information helpful, the entire course is available exclusively from this website. Get all the fundraising tips, tricks and secrets you'll need to raise money for your film. Learn more...

Or get The Ultimate Documentary Pitch Template Package.

Related articles:

Documentary Fundraising Tools & Courses

7 Day Documentary Crash Course

Ready To Make Your Dream Documentary?

Sign up for our exclusive 7-day crash course and learn step-by-step how to make a documentary from idea to completed movie! 

Return Home

Return to Documentary Fundraising