Fundraising for nonprofit can be challenging in a very competitive environment where a lot of media noise exists. How do you get your non-profit attention, much less funding, in such a crowded arena?

Fundraising Has Gotten Highly Competitive


You have a lot of competition for eyeballs these days: From zillions of cable channels to streaming video services like Netflix. Then there’s YouTube, Facebook, and all of the social media chatter that goes on incessantly.

Everywhere you look, organizations are asking for money or looking for more people to sign their online petition. How do you get people to pay attention to your particular cause and donate to your non-profit organization?

Fortunately, there are many different ways to raise funds for a non-profit organization. Some of these methods, such as grant writing, do not require upfront money spent on advertising or trying to get the attention of distracted people on smartphones.

Why Is It Important to Diversify in Fundraising?

Most organizations do not rely on just one method to raise money. They usually have a variety of methods that are constantly in use throughout the year.

Having a diverse approach to your fundraising for Nonprofit does a number of things.

You Aren’t at the Mercy of One Source of Income

If your organization has only one method of fundraising, it is in danger of losing it all if that method dries up. This is particularly true if you are relying on a specific grant or corporate gift.

You Get More People Involved

Good fundraising for Nonprofit is a team effort. It involves not just the development department at the non-profit organization, but the volunteers and supporters of the group. While we mention below getting wealthy benefactors involved, it is just as important to get grassroots support to generate more interest and word of mouth in your organization.

You Can Generate More Money, Period

When you have diverse sources for your fundraising, you have the potential to earn a lot more than if you focused on just one source. Of course, fundraising for Nonprofit takes time and energy, so you can’t do it all, but taking advantage of multiple sources of donation money is the best fundraising ideas. You will be able to grow year after year instead of stagnating, or worse, die.

10 Avenues of Fundraising for Nonprofit

Here are ten different ways to raise money for your not-for-profit group or organization. Some of these may work better for your particular needs, but you will likely want to use a combination of some or all of these approaches to generate the most money.

Grant Writing

Man Writing with pen for Fundraising for Nonprofit

You can find many grants that can help support your non-profit organization. The local, state and federal governments are offering them. Also, by not-for-profit foundations and corporations.

The key thing you should know about grant writing is that it is a process that can take a lot of time and hard work to do correctly.

Grant applications have very specific requirements typically. These often include very detailed reports about your financial status, spending on programs vs. administrative spending, and annual budget.

You will have to follow the grant writing for fundraising to a T. This means, if the organization offering the grant wants the grant proposal printed 10 times with blue tabs in between each section, along with an electronic version included on a CD-ROM, you better do that.

If you do not follow the exact rules and instructions, especially when it comes to government grants, people may toss out your grant proposal application before anyone even looks somewhat closely at it.

Direct Mail

mailbox and sending direct mails as one way of fundraising for nonprofit

Even though we have email these days, non-profit groups still use direct mailing as the tried and true method of fundraising.

Direct mail requires, of course, a good mailing list. This could be a list compiled from people who filled out a form on your website. You could also purchase a list from a company that specializes in targeted lists. For example, if you have an animal welfare non-profit organization, you might purchase a list that has addresses of people who donated to other animal welfare groups.

In order for direct mail to work, you need a well-written letter for fundraising that will be the centerpiece of your direct mail campaign. The letter does not need to be pages and pages in length, but it does need to be engaging and inspiring.

Online Advertising and Social Media

Man Online Advertising on Mac PC to Fundraising for Nonprofit

You can use online advertising on targeted websites as well as search engine results pages (SERPs) to target potential donors. Social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter also offer advertising packages.

Of course, the more you can get your supporters to organically share your organization’s information through social media, the better.

Crowdfunding Campaigns

Related to social media fundraising for Nonprofit is the crowdfunding campaign. This is a specific campaign offered through a crowdfunding website such as GoFundMe or Fundly. You should use this for a specific project or fundraising goal that can inspire people to donate, such as raising money to build a school for girls in a third world country.

Peer to Peer Fundraising for Nonprofit

Handshake People Peer to Peer Fundraising for Nonprofit

Having your members and supporters raise funds for the organization is a great way to foster involvement while generating much-needed money. This could be anything from selling items such as cookies (ala the Girl Scouts) to having a peer-sponsored “Fun Run” to simply incentivizing supporters through recognition and awards.

Corporate Giving

Depending on your cause, you might be able to get donations from major corporations, who set aside a certain amount of funds each year to donate to causes. Why do corporations do this? Some corporations are genuinely trying to help, we can imagine, though the main reason is probably just good old fashion public relations.

You need to research the corporations to see what types of organizations they donate to. If you have a gun rights organization, do not waste your time trying to get money from a company like Google that tends towards supporting progressive causes.

Fundraising Events

When we say “fundraising events” we mean live, in-person happenings where organizations are raising money. Fundraising events can be big or small but no matter what the size, they generally require a lot of coordination and effort to be successful.

If your organization is in a medium to large city, you can have a fundraising for a Nonprofit event to honor notable people in the community. The “sneaky” part about this is that these people tend to have money, and so do their friends. Thus, it is a way to get wealthy local people to donate to your cause.

Selling Swag

Hats, t-shirts, bags, reusable grocery sacks, plush toys, and gift items with your non-profit organization’s logo or slogan may not only raise money but get your organization’s logo out to the world.

Sesame Street makes a good deal of its money off of product sales – more than $46 million per year, which ends up becoming fodder for political arguments over PBS funding.

You can sell swag on your website 24/7, and it is also great to have at various events.

Elite Giving

Elite giving is all about getting wealthy people to invest in your organization and donate money. We briefly touched upon this with event fundraising for Nonprofit.

Some non-profit organizations have specific groups of volunteers that are wealthy and connected. That might seem elitist or unfair, but some not-for-profit organizations might not survive at all without their wealthy donors.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is in and of itself not a fundraising for a Nonprofit tactic. Rather, it is a way to drive traffic to your non-profit website in order to encourage donations.

Content marketing is all about developing keyword rich content that drives organic traffic through search engine results pages (SERPs). Also, you can inspire more people to donate by having a well-written blog on your non-profit website.

Do not limit your content marketing to just written content. You can also create videos, podcasts, and long-form content such as e-books to draw people in. Some people are using graphical content such as infographics and memes on social media to get the word out.

Learn More About Fundraising for Nonprofit

If you are just getting started in the world of fundraising for non-profit, it may seem overwhelming. Fortunately, we have great content on this website designed to teach you everything you need to know about raising money. Take the time to read the various articles here to learn about different types of fundraising for nonprofit. Through learning, you will be able to be an effective fundraiser for your non-profit group.