One of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to starting a nonprofit is that grants are plentiful and easy to get.
But that’s not always true! Especially if you’re a new nonprofit without a track record of success.
It is absolutely possible to fund your nonprofit without making a huge investment of your own personal funds, however – if you know how.
Compile Your Case for Support
Getting funding for a new nonprofit isn’t just about tracking down any money you can. That’s another misconception. It’s about tracking down the right money – from funders and donors who have a clear understanding of your mission, your vision, and your community’s needs.
First, you’ll want to develop your case for support. One of the most valuable documents you can have as a nonprofit, your case for support will include information like your mission and vision, the way your organization will run, the programs you’ll offer, and how you’ll impact your community.
Make sure your language is straightforward and your story is compelling – you want funders and individual donors to know why it’s worth it for them to jump on board.
Choose The Right Revenue Streams
A fundraising plan that keeps your revenue streams diversified will keep your nonprofit sustainable for the long haul.
Choose from common fundraising structures, like:
- Individual Donations: Individual donations are the bread and butter of nonprofit organizations for one simple reason: they’re what’s referred to as unrestricted funds. This means that the donation doesn’t have restrictions and reporting requirements attached to it, the way a grant likely will.
- Grant Funding: Grants from private foundations, community organizations, or the federal government are what most people envision when they think of beginning a nonprofit organization. You’ll need to seek out grant funding opportunities that align with your mission and program activities, as well as your budget size and geographic location.
- Membership Program Dues: Membership programs make participation in your programs more appealing to donors by providing exclusive benefits and recognition. There are a variety of membership structures you can choose from, and you’ll need to decide which one best suits your organization and activities.
- Rentals & Fees for Goods or Services: Being a nonprofit doesn’t preclude you from selling products or charging a fee for your services. You might have a sliding scale for childcare, medical services, or any training programs you may offer. Alternatively, if you produce goods you can sell, you can make this a revenue stream, as well. You can also rent out your space or equipment, if appropriate.
Whatever you choose, try to keep a balance between revenue streams, as much as possible, to minimize budget concerns from year to year.
Planning Ahead Is the Best Way To Get Funded
When it comes to getting your nonprofit funded, planning ahead is the most important step you can take. Without spending enough time on a solid plan, you’re likely to find yourself in a position where you’re “chasing the money.” And as your nonprofit grows, that will become a more and more difficult challenging position to be in.