Nonprofit Fundraising: Start a Nonprofit Organization

Nonprofit fundraising is an essential part of learning to run a successful nonprofit. Since a nonprofit functions off of donations, without proper funding, a nonprofit will not have the monetary resources to accomplish its mission and programs. Fundraising is one of the essential elements those starting and running a nonprofit must become efficient at. However, many who start nonprofit organizations ignore the need that raising funds should to start simultaneously while starting their nonprofit. Read on and I will explain the important elements of nonprofit fundraising.

There are a multitude of nonprofit funding sources which include: individual donors, corporate donations, grants, and fundraising activities. Each of these sources of fundraising require a different approach and skill set to successfully engage them. Fundraising from any of these sources is not hard, but requires dedicated time and energy to gain success that is substantial enough to fund an aggressive nonprofit poised to change the world.

Individual Donors

Individual donors are anyone that have the ability to donate to a nonprofit from their personal finances. This can be family, friends, business acquaintances, and probably more than anyone else, individuals that learn about the nonprofit from the web, literature or fundraisers. Individual donations can be the easiest and most stable form of donations. The key to fundraising from individuals is to educate them with good, concise information about the nonprofit, then keep them up-to-date, allowing them to be a part of the team. You can never have too many volunteers involved in a nonprofit; keeping them involved and motivated keeps them a giving part of your stable fundraising.

Corporate Donors

Corporations world-wide give to nonprofit causes. Many times, a corporation is more interested in geographically local nonprofit organizations. Exposure is an important attractor for many corporations. The more publicity a corporation can get while giving to a nonprofit cause, the better. Usually there is a fair amount of competition for a corporation’s nonprofit giving, so keeping them well informed and involved is key to their continual giving. Gifts-in-kind is another way corporations give to nonprofits. Many times, a corporation can easily give gifts of products they manufacture or distribute that the nonprofit needs, which reduces the expenses of the nonprofit. An example of a gift-in-kind would be computer hardware or software. Corporations are a good stable source of funding for a nonprofit and well worth the time invested.


Grants are another source of nonprofit funding. Grants generally refer to larger type gifts that can be given from individuals, corporations or even other nonprofits. These large monetary gifts are highly sought after because its funding, like other donations, does not have to be repaid. In a single year in the United States, hundreds of billions of dollars can be given to nonprofits in the form of grants. The process of being awarded a grant vary from granting organization to another. Usually, there is a process of applying for an organization’s grant, and then a process the organization takes to determine the recipient. A nonprofit will need to check with each granting organization and follow their process to apply for grants. It is advantageous to learn to write grant requests when desiring to seek funding through grants. There are many organizations that teach grant writing and some are better than others. Funding through grants takes a lot of work and dedication. Prepare for a high turn down rate, and never write a budget with much dependence on grant money unless your proficiency in grant writing and grant awards is well proven.

Fundraising Activities

Fundraising activities can be any activity that raises funds for a nonprofit. There are millions of activities in which a nonprofit can engage to raise funds. Some common fundraising activities are walk-a-thons, marathons, bake sales, art shows, and even spaghetti dinners. Fundraisers are fun and a great way to raise awareness in the community for the nonprofit. I have even seen people bike across the United States, skydive, climb mountains, and sell candy to raise donations for a nonprofit. The sky’s the limit when creating a fundraiser. Anything that someone is willing to donate money to a nonprofit in order to see, eat, or experience, works great as a fundraiser.

A nonprofit does not “make” money to support the charitable work it does. Instead, it relies on fundraising and accepting donations from others to use in accomplishing its mission. Fundraising is a vital skill that those running a nonprofit must have in order to sustain the financial needs of the nonprofit. An error in not acquiring this skill can mean certain difficulty for the nonprofit and its longevity. Fundraising is not difficult, but does require focus and dedication. Finding a good source to learn effective fundraising strategies and skills will help assure the success of a nonprofit.

Copyright 2011 Scott Michael Ringo