Angels and Groups
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Below are best practices gathered from a number of angel groups which hopefully you can leverage to further build your angel membership.
A. Leveraging Members.1) Assemble a list of all past members and personally contact/reinvolve each.
2) Push on certain meeting dates where each member is asked/expected to brings a potential angel friend/acquaintance to the meeting.
3) Offer limited time financial incentives to current members for successful member recruitment such as a partial rebate of their membership fee (Matt Dunbar, Upstate Angels).
4) Bring down minimum investments and offer a dues rebate if an aggregate yearly investment threshold is reached.
5) On retention, the best way is to involve more members in the screening and due diligence so they get excited about and own the deals -- also tends to increase overall deal flow (Jody Vanderwel, Grand Angels).
B. Marketing/Networking.1) Email to local Founders/CEOs inviting them to one of your meetings or an orientation/workshop on angel investing (* if list needed see below).
2) Email to local attorneys and CPAs asking for referrals with an invite to a meeting (* if list needed see below).
3) Build relationships with local wealth management firms and occasionally invite one to attend with an interested client. Can also be done in conjunction with sponsorship relationship (Matt Dunbar, Upstate Angels).
4) Network key local association meetings: ACG.org (Association for Corporate Growth), TiE.org (The Indus Entreprenuers), Chamber, and local university business functions and mixers which tend to attract angels.
C. Events that Drive Recruitment.1) Hold a morning, afternoon or evening BizPlan Pitch Competition with members as judges both local CEO/leader associations and your local universities to promote it to their students, benefactors and members.
2) Workshop on an angel topic of interest hosted/led by a lead local law firm with invites sent to all their clients/prospects (ie. morning, lunch or afterwork session on "How To's" that would attract angels such as "How to Champion and Close an Angel Deal" etc). 3) Host a Showcase and have your most promising portfolio companies present; distribute invites to key local association meetings, ACG.org, TiE.org, Chamber, and local university business functions and mixers which tend to attract angels. Also include press invites (Terrence Hicks, Minority Angel Investor Network).
4) Year-end-in-review dinner at which we review the past year and set some goals for the coming year. We also use it as an effective invitation opportunity (Joel Wiggins, Mid-America Angels).
5) Host an educational event on an interesting angel topic such as your state's Angel Tax Credits or How to Identify Quality Early Stage Companies.
6) Volunteer speakers or a panel from the group's membership for all local entrepreneurial/VC/related events and conferences.
D. Press to Drive Recruitment.1) For every successful exit (or next growth round), be sure to get press/news coverage which would include info about your group (Joel Wiggins, Mid-America Angels).
2) Get local newspaper coverage about one of your portfolio companies (ideally each quarter or more often) which would naturally include info about your group (Barbara Boxer, Women Angels-Miami).
3) Develop relationships with local media who will publicize group's activities and press releases (Matt Dunbar, Upstate Angels).
E. Recruitment Positioning.1) In the recruitment interview, to emphasize the value of the group and deal flow be sure to mention that angels should look at their effort as building a portfolio of 10 companies (or more), not investing in a few they hear about from friends (Edward Engler, Pittsburgh Equity Partners).
2) Be sure to have a "Clear Mission"to better recruit/attract new angels who are a good fit and can be retained with proper expectations (John Currie, FSI Angel Network).
3) As a member recruitment benefit offer educational white papers or seminars (Edward Engler, Pittsburgh Equity Partners).
F. Ancillary Revenue.1) Seek an exclusive sponsorship for each of several categories: local transaction law firm, wealth manager, valuation firm. & CPA.
2) Allow an institutional membership category for local venture firms and family offices.
* Beginning April 1 AngelPool can provide your angel group lists at no charge of most CEOs/Founders of companies and good referral sources (corp attorneys and CPAs) in your metro complete with email, phone and all contact information for your use in contacting/recruiting quality angel investors into your group. Send requests to mprice [at] angelpool.org and we will take care of it for you (usually takes 2-3 days to generate and send to you).