A non-profit organization (NPO) is designed to deliver public or social benefits, rather than generating profit for owners or shareholders. There are more than 1.5 million non-profit organizations in the U.S., ranging from small, local groups to major institutions, such as hospitals and universities. By starting your own NPO, you can support a cause that’s close to your heart, provide meaningful benefits via your activities and make a genuine difference to those around you.
However, you’ll need a sure-fire strategy to ensure you can fund your NPO before you get started. With this in mind, take a look at these seven ways to fund a non-profit organization:
1. Corporate Sponsorship
Securing sponsorship from a business can be one of the most effective ways to fund an NPO on a long-term basis. When you acquire sponsorship, companies will usually agree to provide a set amount of funding for a particular length of time, which means you can plan ahead and use the funds to deliver maximum benefits.
With Givebutter, you can streamline your funding processes and implement end-to-end strategies to ensure funds are collected and allocated appropriately. To learn more, take a look at this in-depth post and find out how to secure corporate sponsorship for your group in five easy steps.
2. Apply for Grants
Numerous different types of organizations issue grants to NPOs on a regular basis. This means that you can access some or all of the funds you need to run your non-profit organization via a simple grant application process. From state and county governments to large-scale enterprises, you can conduct a grant search to determine which opportunities your NPO is eligible to apply for.
When you’re applying for financial support, it’s good to take a strategic approach and apply for the grants that are most likely to approve your application. Instead of applying to every grant provider, consider which ones are most relevant to your NPO and tailor your application accordingly.
3. Ask for Donations
When you’re running an NPO, donations from supporters can be a significant source of income. As your non-profit organization gains more brand awareness and people learn more about the good you’re doing, you’ll find it even easier to obtain the financial support you need to keep your operations going.
Of course, you’ll need the right infrastructure in place to encourage and receive donations. With Givebutter’s easy-to-use platform, you can engage supporters, create fundraising pages, and process donations securely, which makes it easy to facilitate one-off and recurring payments.
4. Host Events
Hosting events, such as galas, sports tournaments and themed parties, can be a highly effective way to generate interest in your non-profit organization and raise funds in the process. You can sell tickets to the event as a way of gathering financial support and even plan in-event activities to raise additional funds.
Charity events can be as small-scale or extravagant as you like, so you can plan a unique event that will engage your target audience and increase ticket sales. You only have to look at the Met Gala to see how lucrative charity events can be – although you may want to start off with something a little less ambitious!
5. Charge Membership
Depending on the type of non-profit organization you’re running, it might be appropriate to implement membership fees to help with your running costs. These can range from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars, so gauge what membership to your NPO is worth and set your membership costs accordingly.
Although membership charges won’t be a viable financial strategy for every NPO, it can work extremely well for some non-profit organizations. Due to this, it’s well worth considering whether membership fees could be an effective way for your NPO to generate much-needed funds.
6. Sell Merchandise
Branded merchandise can be a good way to raise funds for any organization, but it also offers the added benefit of generating brand awareness. If you sell branded promotional items, such as pens, hoodies or bags, for example, you’ll gain brand awareness every time someone uses these items. As well as raising funds via the initial sale price, you’ll benefit from the longer-term brand awareness that these items create and maybe even attract more members and supporters via this extra advertising.
High-quality promotional items can be obtained relatively cheaply, particularly if you buy in large quantities. What’s more – the range of merchandise available means you can attract virtually any target audience. From branded teddy bears and keyrings to t-shirts, phone covers, wristbands and sweets, there are endless ways to promote your NPO and raise funds via selling branded merchandise.
7. Accept In-kind Donations
As well as accepting financial donations, consider accepting in-kind donations to help reduce your expenditure and assist with your running costs. In-kind donations refer to anything given to your non-profit that isn’t money. If you provide local pet owners with support, for example, people might want to donate pet food to help your cause, for example.
However, in-kind donations don’t have to be tangible items that go directly to your beneficiaries. A local marketing specialist might offer free or reduced-cost services as an in-kind donation, for example. Alternatively, you might be able to persuade a local celebrity to appear at an upcoming charity event for no fee, which equates to an in-kind donation.
In-kind donations can provide a range of benefits to NPOs, so consider which type of non-financial donations would be most beneficial for your non-profit and explore innovative ways to encourage individuals, groups, and companies to support you in this way.
Funding Your NPO
Non-profit organizations play a critical role in society but obtaining funding can be one of the most difficult aspects of running an NPO. Despite this, a forward-thinking financial strategy and the right resources can ensure that you’re able to obtain the financial support you need to maintain your operations. No matter what type of NPO you’re running, securing sufficient funding will provide long-term security and enable you to achieve your goals.
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