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How to Get Funding for a Nonprofit in Today’s Economy

Published: Mar 29, 2024

Are you seeking funds for your nonprofit organization? This guide provides clear, actionable steps on how to get funding for a nonprofit, with no frills attached. From navigating grants to rallying individual donors and leveraging digital campaigns, we’ll equip you with the knowledge to tap into diverse funding streams essential for your nonprofit’s growth in today’s economy.

Key Takeaways

  • Nonprofits can diversify and stabilize their financial support by tapping into various funding sources, such as government grants, foundation grants, corporate partnerships, individual donations, membership fees, and earned income from services.
  • Diversification of revenue through membership programs, fundraising events, and sales of mission-related goods or services is crucial for nonprofit financial resilience and adaptability to changing economic conditions.
  • The digital landscape offers powerful tools for nonprofits, including crowdfunding campaigns and social media fundraising, which enable them to reach a global audience and drive donations effectively.

Understanding nonprofit funding sources

Securing funding is a critical task for any nonprofit organization. Recognizing and understanding the available funding sources is the first step toward this endeavor. Some of the key funding sources for nonprofits include:

  • Grants from foundations and government grants
  • Corporate sponsorships and partnerships
  • Individual donations and fundraising events
  • Membership fees and dues
  • Board members contributing financially or fundraising
  • Earned income from programs and services

By exploring and tapping into grant funding sources, you can increase your chances of securing the financial support needed to make a difference in your community through community development. Utilizing grant funds effectively can help you achieve your goals.

Government grants


Government grants, including federal grants, are often viewed as a major treasure chest in the nonprofit sector. Federal, state, and local grants are available for a vast array of organizations, including those at state, local, and tribal government levels, as well as education entities and housing authorities, who align with a nonprofit’s mission. 

These grants, managed by an independent federal agency, often offer the opportunity for annual renewals, providing nonprofits with a stable and ongoing source of income if reporting requirements are fulfilled. 

One such example is the nonprofit grant, which can be a valuable resource for organizations in need of financial support. In addition to these, nonprofit grants can also be found through private foundations and corporations.

However, the journey to secure these grants is not always smooth. The grant proposal application process can be complex and competitive, and approval is not guaranteed. But with careful navigation and strategic planning, nonprofits can successfully unlock this treasure chest and secure the funding they need.

Here are some helpful links to US government grants:


Foundation grants are another significant source of funding for eligible nonprofits. These organizations, whether public, corporate, or private family foundations, offer grants that can support a range of nonprofit missions. However, these treasures often come with specific eligibility criteria that align with their mission and goals. These could range from supporting education, public housing, or certain types of nonprofit work.

Private grants offered by community foundations and other organizations can be accessed through research databases or local charitable resource hubs. Foundations such as the Walmart Foundation and the Amazon Web Services Foundation have specific focus areas, making them suitable for nonprofits that align with their priorities.

Individual donors

Individual donors are the lifeblood of many nonprofits. In 2023 alone, they contributed more than $319 billion, underlining their vital role as a principal funding source. In fact, individual philanthropy accounts for 64% of all nonprofit funding, a testament to their crucial contribution.

Engaging with individual donors, however, requires effective strategies. Here are some key strategies to attract and retain individual donors:

  • Be active in the community
  • Provide diverse donation options
  • Share stories that demonstrate impact
  • Engage with them throughout the year, don’t look at them as merely funding opportunities
  • Be transparent about the impact of donations
  • Offer involvement opportunities
  • Speak up for issues that affect local communities

By implementing these strategies, nonprofits can build strong relationships with individual donors and ensure a sustainable source of support.

Diversifying revenue streams


While government grants, foundations, and individual donors are significant sources of funding, nonprofits should not rely solely on these. Diversifying revenue streams is critical to mitigate financial risk and adapt to new technologies and donor preferences. The more diverse your revenue stream, the more resilient it is to fluctuations.

This diversification can come from various sources, such as membership programs, fundraising events, and sales of mission-related goods or services. By diversifying the revenue stream, nonprofits can extend their outreach and visibility, engaging with a wider community and potential donors. This not only makes nonprofits more appealing to a broader donor base but also facilitates a more stable financial model. In a fluctuating economic climate, having multiple funding avenues allows nonprofits to maintain stability.

You May Also Like: Use These 52 Nonprofit Proven Fundraising Ideas to Raise More Funds This Year

Membership programs

Membership programs are one of the treasure chests in the diversified funding portfolio of nonprofits. They provide a reliable and recurring source of income, encouraging members to contribute in ways beyond the typical donor relationship. Just like a club or a society, these programs foster a sense of belonging among members, making them more likely to support the nonprofit’s cause.

However, for these programs to thrive, nonprofit organizations must invest in careful planning and resource management. This includes creating member-led initiatives, where members actively contribute to campaigns and advocate for the organization’s goals. Offering a range of benefits to members, such as privileges or unique experiences, can further cultivate a sense of exclusive belonging within the nonprofit’s community.

Fundraising events

Fundraising events can be a goldmine for nonprofits looking to diversify their funding sources. These events, whether galas, auctions, or charity runs, offer multiple revenue streams through ticket sales, sponsorships, and auctions. They can be as varied as sporting events, fun runs, walk-a-thons, art exhibits, benefit concerts, arts programs, or even eating contests. These events not only serve as major fundraising opportunities but also play a crucial role in raising awareness about the nonprofit’s mission and work within the community.

But these events are not just about raising funds; they are also about engagement and awareness. They allow nonprofits to connect with their people, share their mission, bring people together for a common cause, and build a strong community foundation.

Sales of goods and services

Sales of goods and services can also contribute significantly to a nonprofit’s revenue streams. Whether selling merchandise, offering services, or even maintaining an online store, these sales can cover costs and engage with the community. It’s like running a business within a nonprofit, where the profits go towards supporting the mission and generating nonprofit revenue.

However, while selling goods and services, nonprofit organizations must adhere to tax guidelines specific to their organization and tax-exempt status. Nonetheless, these sales not only provide financial stability but also enhance the ability of nonprofits to support and further their missions.

Read Next: 15 Unique Fundraising Ideas You Need To Try Today!

Building corporate partnerships


What is important to Corporations to partner for nonprofit funding. Source: For Momentum.

Building corporate partnerships is another treasure map that can lead to increased funding and visibility for nonprofits. Many corporations allocate a portion of their profits to support nonprofit initiatives, representing a significant funding source. But partnerships are more than just about funding; Such grant funding can also increase visibility, extend outreach, and even provide in-kind donations.

Nonprofit organizations can identify corporations with community-giving initiatives and establish partnerships that support their missions. Effective corporate partnerships are built by finding shared values, making local connections, and engaging employees in advocacy and board roles. Diversification in partnerships, including corporate giving, can lead to growth in supporters and enhanced opportunities for funding.

Identifying potential corporate partners

Nonprofits need to research companies that have similar missions and visions, focusing on those with a corporate social responsibility (CSR) program or a history of supporting related causes. Building a list of prospective corporate partners should include both past supporters for re-engagement and new companies known for their community involvement and support.

Approaching potential partners requires clear communication of the nonprofit’s mission, the societal issues it addresses, and an outline of the potential role and contribution of the corporation. Local businesses can be key prospects for partnerships due to their vested interest in the community and may be more willing to support nearby initiatives. Participation in relevant networking events and conferences presents opportunities for nonprofits to meet and potentially form connections with corporate entities aligned with their cause.

Creating sponsorship opportunities

Sponsorship packages should offer a range of benefits, including acknowledgments at events and media exposure, along with opportunities for corporate volunteers to engage with the organization’s mission. Establishing levels of sponsorship and the corresponding benefits, as well as a readiness to tailor agreements to corporate needs, can enhance the appeal and effectiveness of sponsorship programs.

A successful sponsorship package should detail the nonprofit’s mission, goals, sponsorship tiers, and customizable options, along with branding opportunities and the anticipated return on investment for sponsors. Incorporating digital assets like online banners, website logo placements, and branded digital experiences can significantly enhance sponsorship packages in today’s digital landscape. Sponsorship packages that include interactive opportunities, such as prime event locations and networking games, can facilitate meaningful connections between sponsors and the nonprofit’s audience.

Leveraging online platforms

Online donation tools offer nonprofits an unprecedented opportunity to reach a global audience and increase donations. Crowdfunding platforms like GoFundMe and Kickstarter can help nonprofits gather donations for specific projects or causes. Social media platforms also play a crucial role in sharing engaging content, impact stories, and calls to action to promote nonprofit fundraising.

In addition, nonprofits can leverage Google Ad Grants, which provide up to $10,000 per month in search ads on, to increase the visibility of their online fundraising campaigns. Giving days, such as Giving Tuesday, mobilize public support and allow nonprofits to engage with donors in concentrated fundraising efforts. Measuring online fundraising success through tracking event data and social media engagement is essential for assessing impact and optimizing future fundraising initiatives.

Crowdfunding campaigns

Important Crowdfunding Stats:

1. $9,237.55 is the average amount a nonprofit crowdfunding campaign raises.
2. $568 is the average amount an individual raises through crowdfunding.
3. $34 billion is the Global Amount Raised by Crowdfunding to this dayIn crowdfunding campaigns, 62% of those who donate are new, and 28% of those new donors will give again.


Crowdfunding campaigns allow nonprofits to engage with a global audience through channels like social media. To run effective campaigns, nonprofits should:

  • Craft compelling narratives
  • Utilize marketing materials and a centralized online platform
  • Choose the right platform for their needs
  • Have a thorough understanding of their audience

Enhancing the donor experience can be achieved by using virtual components in fundraisers and offering a variety of payment options. Nonprofits should evaluate and refine their crowdfunding strategies by learning from each campaign to improve future fundraising success.

Social media fundraising

Social media fundraising can be a game-changer for nonprofits. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn, these platforms offer a stage for nonprofits to share engaging content, impact stories, and calls to action. Nonprofits using social media for fundraising should set SMART goals to guide their strategy toward clear and achievable objectives.

Utilizing a content calendar helps maintain a consistent posting schedule, enabling a mix of content that aligns with the organization’s goals. Some strategies that nonprofit organizations should consider are:

  • Shareable content like images, videos, and infographics can boost engagement and the nonprofit’s visibility on social media.
  • Storytelling is a powerful tool to convey the human element of the nonprofit’s work, making communications with funders more compelling.
  • Leveraging influencers or ambassadors can amplify a nonprofit’s fundraising campaign by reaching new audiences.

Authenticity in social media posts humanizes the nonprofit, fostering trust and approachability with the audience. Starting and participating in conversations on social media can elevate engagement, creating a community of supporters around the cause. The success of social media outreach can be evaluated using KPIs such as follower count, impressions, and engagement metrics. A robust social media presence not only enhances a nonprofit’s credibility but also can attract potential corporate sponsors.

Text fundraising


Text fundraising is another innovative way to boost donations and engage supporters. With a simple text message, donors can contribute to your cause, making the donation process seamless and convenient.

You can engage in text fundraising in these ways:

  • For engaged and confirmed donors: Send a text broadcast announcing your next fundraiser, cause, and a definite, clear CTA. Typically, this CTA would be a request to follow the donation link in the text and contribute a certain amount.
  • For donors who require some nurturing: Engage in 1-on-1 conversations via peer-to-peer texting to introduce the prospect to your cause, groom them towards your desired actio, and once they are ready, send the donation link.
  • For new opt-ins: Rent a keyword (e.g., FUNDS) and shortcode/10DLC number for people to text and opt-in. Promote these on all your online and offline channels. People interested in donating will text that keyword to your number so set up an automation flow to collect their basic information and send them the donation link on this conversation.

Pro-Tip: Giving days are a specific form of text fundraising that involves concentrated fundraising efforts on a specific day or timeframe. These events create a sense of urgency, encouraging both new and recurring donors to contribute, and increase public awareness about the nonprofit’s endeavors.

Giving days

Giving Days are like the grand finale of a fundraising marathon. They are designated events intended to amplify charitable giving and support for nonprofits through collective efforts on a specific day or timeframe. These events mobilize support by creating a sense of urgency, which encourages both new and recurring donors to contribute, and also increases public consciousness about the nonprofit’s endeavors.

To make the most of Giving Days, nonprofits should:

  • Meticulously choose an appropriate date.
  • Articulate both fundraising targets and impact goals.
  • Employ a comprehensive promotional strategy to broadcast their message effectively.
  • Utilize social media campaigns during Giving Days to optimize the gathering of online donations.
  • Follow up with personalized acknowledgments and updates on donation impacts to cultivate sustained donor engagement.

You May Also Like: Nonprofit Fundraising 101: How to Ask for Donations for Nonprofit


Securing funding for nonprofit organizations in today’s economy is like a treasure hunt, with various sources of treasure and different paths to reach them. From government grants to individual donors, from membership programs to social media fundraising, the options are numerous. Diversifying revenue streams, building corporate partnerships, and leveraging online platforms are key strategies to finding these treasures. But like in every treasure hunt, success comes to those who are prepared, persistent, and adaptable. So equip yourself with knowledge, chart your course, and embark on this exciting journey of funding your nonprofit.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do most nonprofits receive their funding?

Most nonprofits receive the majority of their funding from individual donors through contributions.

How do you request money for a nonprofit organization?

You can request money for a nonprofit organization through direct mail, email, social media, phone, and donation card appeals as part of a comprehensive fundraising strategy. Year-end fundraising is especially effective as supporters are likely in the giving spirit during this time.

Read our complete fundraising guide: Nonprofit Fundraising: The Most Comprehensive Guide

How does a CEO of a nonprofit get paid?

The board of directors is responsible for determining reasonable and non-excessive compensation for the CEO of a nonprofit, with the goal of attracting and retaining top talent to lead the organization. This is typically done based on market standards and the organization’s financial capacity.

Where is the best place to look for grants?

The best places to look for grants are, Candid’s Foundation Directory,, Google Ad Grants,, local/state funding, search engines, and Guidestar by Candid. Consider exploring these options to find grants for your organization.

How can nonprofits diversify their revenue streams?

Nonprofits can diversify their revenue stream by implementing strategies such as membership programs, fundraising events, and sales of goods and services. This can help increase financial stability and sustainability.

Feature image source: Canva.

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