How to Get Funding for a Nonprofit

As a new nonprofit founder, securing nonprofit funding is one of the most crucial steps in bringing your vision to life. Developing a solid nonprofit fundraising plan is essential to ensure your organization has the resources it needs to make a difference. This article will guide you through understanding different nonprofit funding sources, nonprofit fundraising best practices, and strategies for obtaining the money you need to achieve your mission.

Understanding Different Nonprofit Funding Sources

To effectively fund your nonprofit, it’s important to know the various sources available. Diversifying your nonprofit funding sources can help create a more sustainable financial foundation. Here are five common funding sources you should consider when creating your nonprofit fundraising plan:

  1. Grants: Funds provided by organizations or government agencies that support specific causes or projects. They can be a significant source of nonprofit funding but often require a thorough application process.
  2. Donations: Contributions from individuals who believe in your mission. They can range from small one-time gifts to large, recurring donations from major supporters.
  3. Sponsorships: Partnerships with businesses or organizations that provide financial support in exchange for recognition or other benefits.
  4. Fundraising Events: Events like galas, auctions, or community gatherings that can be an effective way to raise money and engage supporters.
  5. Crowdfunding: Platforms that allow you to reach a large audience and collect small donations from many people.

Strategies for Nonprofit Fundraising

Now that you understand the different nonprofit funding sources, let’s explore some strategies to successfully raise funds. Incorporating these strategies into your nonprofit fundraising plan can help you successfully navigate how to get funding for a nonprofit organization.

Recommended: Read our review of the best online donation software for nonprofits to manage and enhance your fundraising. 

Obtaining Grant Funding

Nonprofit grants are a significant source of nonprofit funding, providing organizations with the financial support they need to carry out their missions without the requirement to repay the funding amount. 

Grants can come from various sources such as foundation grants, corporate or volunteer grants, and government or federal grants. These funders typically have specific areas of focus and eligibility criteria, so it’s essential to research and identify grants that align with your nonprofit’s mission and programs. Securing grants for nonprofits requires careful research and compelling proposals. 

Here are some steps to help you secure grants as part of your nonprofit fundraising efforts:

  • Research opportunities that align with your mission, including grant databases, government agencies, and foundations that support causes like yours.
  • Craft compelling proposals that communicate your nonprofit’s impact and how you will use the funds.
  • Demonstrate your organization’s credibility by highlighting your track record, partnerships, and the qualifications of your team.
  • Use a grant management software to keep track of grant proposals, requirements, and approvals. 

Acquiring Donations

Individual donations are the backbone of most nonprofit fundraising plans. These contributions can come from a wide range of supporters, including individuals, families, and private donors. Donations can be one-time gifts or ongoing commitments, such as monthly or annual contributions. Building a strong base of individual donors can provide your nonprofit with a reliable source of funding and help you establish a network of loyal supporters. 

Building strong relationships with donors is key to securing donations. Consider these strategies to effectively acquire donations and boost your nonprofit fundraising:

  • Develop a compelling story that emotionally connects people to your cause.
  • Create targeted campaigns that reach potential donors through various channels like email, social media, and direct mail.
  • Use a donor management tool to help establish strong relationships with donors and increase recurring donations. 
  • Offer multiple ways for donors to give, such as online donations, recurring gifts, and planned giving options.

Securing Sponsorships

Corporate sponsorships can be a valuable addition to your nonprofit fundraising strategy. Sponsorships involve partnering with businesses or organizations that provide financial support in exchange for recognition, exposure, and other benefits. These partnerships can help your nonprofit tap into new networks, increase your visibility, and secure additional resources such as in-kind donations or volunteer support.

To attract corporate sponsors, follow these steps:

  • Identify businesses whose values align with your mission and research their sponsorship history and giving priorities.
  • Craft a targeted pitch that highlights how partnering with your nonprofit can benefit their brand and help them meet their social responsibility goals.
  • Offer tiered sponsorship packages with clear benefits like logo placement, event recognition, and employee engagement opportunities.
  • Nurture long-term relationships with sponsors by providing regular updates on the impact of their support and use CRM software to manage interactions. 

Organizing Fundraising Events

Fundraising events are a classic component of many nonprofit fundraising plans. These events can range from formal galas and auctions to more casual community gatherings and athletic events. In addition to raising money, fundraising events provide an opportunity to engage supporters, raise awareness about your cause, and cultivate relationships with donors and sponsors.

To ensure your fundraising events are successful:

  • Set a clear fundraising goal and budget, and choose an event format that aligns with your mission and appeals to your target audience.
  • Promote your event through multiple channels, and leverage your board and volunteers to help sell tickets and secure sponsors.
  • Create a memorable experience for attendees that showcases your nonprofit’s impact and inspires them to give by leveraging a creative fundraising event idea
  • Follow up with attendees after the event to thank them for their support and encourage them to stay involved with your organization.

Recommended: Read our guide on How to Organize Nonprofit Fundraising Events.

Utilizing Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding has emerged as a popular fundraising strategy for nonprofits in recent years. Crowdfunding involves leveraging online platforms to raise money from a large number of people, often for a specific project or initiative. This approach can help your nonprofit tap into new audiences, generate buzz around your cause, and secure funding quickly.

To run a successful crowdfunding campaign as part of your nonprofit fundraising plan:

  • Choose a crowdfunding platform that aligns with your goals and audience, and craft a compelling campaign story that clearly communicates your mission and the specific project you’re funding.
  • Set a realistic fundraising goal and create tiered rewards for different donation levels.
  • Promote your campaign heavily through social media, email, and your website, and keep supporters engaged with regular updates.
  • Thank donors promptly and share the impact of their contributions to foster long-term relationships.

Leveraging Peer-to-Peer Fundraising

Peer-to-peer fundraising, also known as social fundraising or personal fundraising, is a powerful strategy for nonprofits to expand their reach and engage supporters in their fundraising efforts. This approach involves empowering your supporters to create their own fundraising pages and raise money on behalf of your organization.

To implement a successful peer-to-peer fundraising campaign:

  • Identify a specific campaign idea that aligns with your mission and will resonate with your supporters, such as a walkathon, virtual challenge, or holiday giving campaign.
  • Select a peer-to-peer fundraising platform that integrates with your website and provides easy-to-use tools for your fundraisers to create and share their pages.
  • Recruit passionate supporters to serve as fundraisers, and provide them with resources, such as email templates, social media graphics, and storytelling guidance, to help them succeed.
  • Encourage fundraisers to personalize their pages with their own stories and connection to your cause, and to set ambitious but achievable fundraising goals.

Maximizing Nonprofit Funding Opportunities

In addition to the core nonprofit funding sources and strategies outlined above, there are several other ways to maximize your fundraising potential and create a more sustainable financial foundation for your organization. By thinking creatively and exploring new nonprofit fundraising ideas, you can diversify your revenue streams, build stronger relationships with supporters, and increase your impact.

Leveraging Corporate Partnerships

Partnerships with socially responsible companies can be a powerful way to expand your nonprofit’s reach and secure valuable resources beyond traditional sponsorships. By aligning your mission with the corporate social responsibility goals of businesses, you can create mutually beneficial relationships that drive impact and support your fundraising efforts.

Additionally, generating partnerships with corporations can lead to volunteer grant programs that involve the company providing grant funding to nonprofits in recognition of volunteer work performed by employees.

Diversifying Revenue Streams

While grants, donations, sponsorships, and events are essential components of a nonprofit fundraising plan, relying too heavily on any single funding source can leave your organization vulnerable to financial instability. Diversifying your revenue streams can help mitigate risk, create a more permanent nonprofit revenue stream, and provide greater flexibility in pursuing your mission.


By understanding the different nonprofit funding sources available and implementing these strategies, you’ll be well on your way to securing the nonprofit revenue your organization needs to thrive. Remember, fundraising is an ongoing process that requires persistence, creativity, and relationship building. Keep refining your approach, and don’t be afraid to try new tactics as your nonprofit grows and evolves.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do most nonprofits receive their funding?

When it comes to fundraising for nonprofit organizations, most rely on a mix of individual donations, government grants, corporate sponsorships, and fundraising events. It’s important to have a diverse fundraising strategy to ensure your nonprofit can sustain itself in the long run. Do your homework and go after funding sources that match your nonprofit’s mission and goals. 

How do you request money for a nonprofit organization?

Asking for money for your nonprofit means creating compelling requests that inspire folks to get behind your cause. Tailor your pitch to what each potential donor cares about, and clearly explain your mission, impact, and what you need the money for. Create targeted fundraising for nonprofit organizations campaigns that use a variety of methods, like email, social media, snail mail, and in-person asks. 

How do nonprofit founders get paid?

Nonprofit founders can earn a paycheck through a combination of salary, bonuses, and benefits, but it all depends on the organization’s size, budget, and what the board approves. Founder compensation should be fair and in line with their duties, qualifications, and the nonprofit’s financial situation. When nonprofit boards decide on founder salaries, they usually look at things like the budget, what’s typical in the industry, and the founder’s experience and track record.

How to start a nonprofit organization with no money?

Starting a nonprofit from scratch with no cash requires careful planning, being resourceful, and truly believing in your mission. Start by creating a clear vision and a convincing case for why your nonprofit is needed. Rally passionate volunteers, including board members, who are willing to chip in their time, skills, and connections to help get your organization up and running. Look for in-kind donations and explore different nonprofit funding models like crowdfunding, grassroots fundraising, and research grants to get the resources you need to keep growing your impact.