How to Get Funding for Your Non-Profit Organizations
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How to Get Funding for Your Non-Profit Organizations
To run an effective non-profit organization, you have to constantly find funding opportunities.
The thing is, there are people out there who are interested in the work you do. And they’d also be willing to assist you by giving.
However, they need to also know that you’ll be making a genuine impact with the funds you generate and that whatever they provide will be appreciated.
This is why it’s important to be strategic when sourcing for donations.
In this post, we’ll be looking at ten sure ways to get funding for your non-profit organization along with valuable tips to implement when using that specific strategy.
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Strategic Ways to Source Donations for Non-Profit Organizations
Here are a few strategies to ensure consistent funding of your non-profit organization:
1. Sell branded items
Being one of the most popular ways to get funding, consider creating merchandise with your business name, logo, and even slogan. Some organizations make it more fun by using a cool sentence highlighting the cause and how you’d stand by it. Once you’ve finalized on your designs and items to sell, publicize them for more sales.
You can do this by selling at a trade fair, a popular store, or even via social media. We recommend starting a hashtag to show off the people who have purchased this item. Also clearly state what you’d be using the proceeds of the merchandise for.
The great thing about this funding model is that, not only do you get to generate sales for your non-profit, but you’d also spread awareness about your cause. For example, if you sell a T-shirt, anytime anyone wears that shirt, you’ve technically reached more people when they look at it. So this is an advertising model that’ll attract more members to your organization.
However, using this for awareness can only catch on when you have a nice brand name that shows your cause and has a fun side to it. Consider choosing a great business name first as it’ll impact your branded items.
– Create a wide range of merch so you can attract a wider audience.
– Purchase these items in bulk so they can be cheaper and you’d get more profit.
2. Host a charity event
Fundraising events are a great way to get all your donors in one place and motivate them enough to support your cause. It could be a gala night, musical event, stage play, concert dinner, award night and so much more.
However, ensure it’s something that interests your target market and organization. So you don’t have to always host a fancy gala. A simple BBQ night at the beach can be a charity event as well.
The goal here is to determine what the success of the event would look like. For example, would you want a specific amount of ticket sales for your concert? If yes, how much? Would you rather they opt for a donation round during the event? Or do you plan on selling merch during this event as well? Remember, whatever method or goal amount should be tied to your organization’s needs.
Once you’ve sorted out your goals, think about your budget and how you’d want to manage that. Virtual events tend to cost less but you cannot hold attention if people can easily drop out or expect a recording later on. In-person events are always more engaging, and yield more donations. That’s why we recommend this.
– Choose an event based on your organization’s personality and donor interests.
– Create a committee with specific roles to help make the event a success.
3. Add a donation page to your website
If people hear about your organization and what you do, they might be motivated to donate to your cause anonymously. However, if they visit your website and want to make a donation, contacting you directly causes friction in their giving process. This is why it’s important to create a donation page highlighting donation options to your cause.
Your donation page should be simple, elegant, and easy to find. Consider opting for a minimalist design and placing a link to this page on your website’s navigation menu. With this, it’ll have a very professional look and motivate your donors. Ensure that all security measures are in place to provide a secure donation process on your site.
Since a lot of donors might also be using their mobile phones, you want to optimize your page for mobile. This includes having a fast site speed, responsive elements, and short forms.
– Add social sharing links so your donors can help spread the word.
– Use popular secure payment options like PayPal, Amazon pay, or bank transfers.
4. Instead of cash, request in-kind donations
Most times, the money you source for is spent on expenditure, running costs, and other things. For example, if you run a dog shelter, you’d be spending on vets, dog food, sitters, groomers, and trying to pair dogs with new families. However, if you’re open to in-kind donations, you might get a lot of dog food as donations.
So stop restricting your funding rounds to cash only. Request for clothes, food, and other tangible materials. You can also ask people to donate their time or services to your cause. For example, if you reach out to a celebrity to make it your event, they’ve donated their time. And if they do perform, it’s also their skills.
This also helps spread awareness about your cause. Since people like to share their experiences with non-profits and invite their friends to help out, they’d be indirectly referring people to your organization.
– Specify a specific duration for intangible donations so people know the level of commitment they are signing up for.
– Create a list you need – but don’t limit the donations to that list.
5. Implement a membership fee
Do you have a number of supporters and people loyal to your non-profit cause? Consider launching a membership program and offering them exclusive benefits. Your membership program is a great way to build a community. You can charge a membership fee that’ll be a sort of a way to get consistent revenue for your cause.
However, for this to be successful, you have to show the benefits of joining your membership club. By offering member-only events, newsletters, magazines, and so much more, you’d make them feel like a part of your organization. So think about what your supporters want the most from your organization to feel special.
You can also host fun events at these members’ homes and brainstorming sessions for other subsequent events. This will encourage members of their circle to join your membership plan.
We also recommend grouping memberships into different plans. Each plan will have different offerings and benefits. This way, you have something for everyone. Here’s an example from Nano:
– Promote your membership plans on social media to drive more awareness.
– When creating these plans – discuss with your board members to come up with adequate benefits for each level.
6. Cold mail prospective donors
If you have a number of prospective donors, mailing them is a classic way to get them to donate to your cause. While it’s a very traditional way to raise money, it’s still pretty much effective. You just have to write a mail asking them to make a donation and include supporting documents.
Since your prospective donors probably get a ton of emails, you have to do a good job of convincing them why they should opt for your non-profit. This is where your documents come in. They should contain compelling images of your projects, a brochure about your work, awards, and other ways to volunteer for the cause. So get a designer to help out.
It’s important to keep your expectations at a realistic level. Seeing as many people wouldn’t respond immediately or at all. Nevertheless, you’d still get online donations and attendees to your events.
– Compare the cost of acquiring these donors to the amount actually received to measure the impact.
– Consider mailing a physical fundraising packet too.
Crowdfunding is asking a crowd online to contribute whatever they can towards a goal which is usually a project. This is an excellent strategy if you have a time-bound project when resources are low.
So let’s say, for example, you need to fund a mission trip or purchase new equipment, you can host it online with the total amount required. Then there’d be a countdown to the day you need the said equipment. People can contribute as many times until the timer expires.
The best way to launch this is to find software that allows you to build a very appealing page. One popular software is GoFundMe. You can also use your in-house resources to create a custom page or modify your donation page if you have one.
Once your goal is met, don’t forget to keep your donors in the loop of things. They should know the progress of the project or whether you’ve bought it or not. Not only do they make you transparent, but they also increase your chances of raising more money if there’ll be a future crowdfunding campaign.
– Create a sense of urgency by showing a progress bar on how much is left to reach a goal.
– Don’t forget to add social links to your page so people can reshare it to their network.
8. Stay in touch with previous donors through recurring donations
Let’s say some of your previous campaigns worked out fine and you got donors. Don’t just receive donations and end it there. Stay in touch with them to maintain a long-lasting connection.
We also recommend creating a recurring donation program. Here, your donors agree to give a certain amount for a certain period of time.
For example, if you have a monthly visit to an orphanage, simply create a monthly or yearly donation so they can constantly donate to this cause. This is a very steady source of funding as you can predict your donation inflow that month.
The best way to launch this is to start during your other fundraising campaigns. Provide an option where your donors can choose to donate once or on a recurring basis. Of course, you should find a way to automatically deduct this payment from their account. So maybe consider using a fundraising subscription-based service to achieve this.
– State a compelling argument for recurring donations and promote it in your communications.
– Always appreciate your recurring donors with occasional thank you packages or mail.
9. Apply for a grant
There are a lot of structured organizations that offer non-profit organizations funds for projects and other activities. In some cases, the government has budgeted for such non-profits as you can find them at the state and federal levels. We call them grants. The only catch is that you’d have to complete a grant application process.
Start by researching what grants your non-profit is eligible for. This is because they are the ones most likely to accept your applications. The application process depends on who is issuing the said grant. For some sponsors, you’d have to simply fill out a grant application form. For others, you’d have to meet up with a representative of the organization.
In most cases, if you’re awarded the grant, you have to also write a report detailing how you spent the funds. This is why we recommend hiring a grant writer to help out with the application and reports.
Google Ad Grants is also an excellent way for non-profits to raise awareness, attract new donors and volunteers through search ads. Of course, you’d have to verify your non-profit’s eligibility first.
– Proofread your grant application – if possible, ask others to read it before submitting.
– Look out for volunteer grants as they are one of the easiest to get.
10. Find a corporate sponsorship
There are a ton of corporate institutions that are willing to partner with non-profits to get visibility during events and just support your cause. However, you have to first identify organizations that align with your mission and values. Then, send a proposal or schedule a meeting requesting for a sponsorship.
Most times, they’d request recognition during the event like their brand logo across materials, reference during a speech, or a shout-out on social media. Because of how tied these two organizations will be, it’s important to do a lot of research on the timing and economic conditions of the said company.
Also, find out how you can offer value to them by looking through their shortcomings. You can, of course, ask them too. That way you’d be able to create the right sponsorship package for both parties
– Always have a sponsorship agreement in writing signed by both organizations to avoid any future issues.
– Be sure you fulfill the terms of sponsorship and that it doesn’t count as an advert placement.
The Bottom Line
There are many ways to raise money for your non-profit and we’ve discussed the top ten in this post. However, one of the most important things that’ll make your organization stand out during events, crowdfunding, requests, and grant applications, is your brand name.
To run an effective non-profit organization, you have to constantly find funding opportunities. The thing is, there are people out there who are interested in the work you do. And they’d also be willing to assist you by giving.