Some people might think nonprofit organizations are a no-brainer to run…anyone can raise money for a cause! As nonprofit managers, you know that the general public doesn’t realize how stressful running an organization can be. You spend long and thankless hours working your rear off—some days with very little to show for it. And the compensation you get for all your hard work is nothing to brag about either; but at the end of the day, the payoff from seeing all your hard work go to helping make a difference for your cause is the most unbelievable feeling.
The fact is this isn’t a job for just anybody. But if you’re one of the dedicated few who believes their cause is worth your blood and sweat, read on.
You need to get out there and hustle to raise those funds, especially when you’re just starting out. There are limitless ways that you can get money for your organization, you’re limited only by your creativity. To get you started, here are the most common methods for fundraising:
- Solicit donations from the public
- Seek out high-value investors
- Host special events
- Acquire foundation grants
Next we’ll break down what you can do to put these methods into practice.
Soliciting donations from the public: As the largest source of all nonprofit revenue at a whopping 73%, most of you will want to focus the majority of your efforts on this boon. Utilize strategies that cast out a wide net to a large number of people through mass email, direct mail or community gatherings. Provide them with a small token as a free gift and respectfully ask them to contribute to your cause. Be sure to contact them at later times to follow up to cultivate a relationship.
Seeking out high-value investors: Your second most profitable sources of funding comes from wealthy individuals who share your organization’s vision. Unlike building relationships with the public, you must connect with these investors on a very personal level. Make them feel appreciated for their generous donations and keep in frequent contact with them.
Hosting special events: Raising money and spreading awareness of your cause with fun, meaningful events is one of the best ways to promote your cause. Proper planning is crucial to guarantee a successful event; the goal of your event must be clear, include who it’s intended for, how you’re going to convey your message and what you’re going to ask from them.
Acquiring foundation grants: Great for specific programs and niche causes. Corporate and private foundations alike are willing to fund causes that align with their models. Get ready to put your (hopefully) strong networking skills to the test. Strong past and current relationships will be the deciding factor as foundations review the sea of proposals asking for their support.
As a nonprofit manager, it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to secure initial funding for your organization. Following the recommendations above are your best chances at getting the money your cause needs; but remember, you’re only limited to your creativity in finding other methods of fundraising. Good luck out there!