Start Your NonProfit for Sustainability – Part Two Fundraising

Finally, you are now in business and we can start fundraising for your organization in earnest. Nonprofits, like most start up businesses, begin with the founder personally (and perhaps your board members) funding the organization until it can be funded with outside sources. If you have to fund the organization yourself at the beginning, be sure to keep meticulous records of what you have put into the organization and be clear about its intent. For example, whether your funding is a gift or a loan to the organization. Here are some creative, fun and traditional ways tofundraising sites a nonprofit organization:

1. Sell Something. Collect and sell items on eBay or Craigslist to raise your startup capital.

2. Borrow Against Life Insurance Policies. If you have a life insurance policy, check to see if it has cash value. Most policies start accumulating cash value after a certain period of time. When you borrow against your life insurance policy, your policy stays intact as long as you continue paying the premiums when due. If you die while there’s an outstanding loan against your policy then the face amount is reduced by the loan amount. The nice thing about borrowing against your life insurance policy is that there’s no credit check, or income verification like most other loans. All you have to do is call you insurance company and let them know you want to borrow the cash value.

3. Borrow from Family and Friends. Your friends and family are a good source of capital fundraising. This might be one of the most cost effective ways to fundraise for your business – that’s if your friends or family members are not asking for interest on the loan. You can also protect the spirit of the transaction by putting your agreement in writing and making small payments as soon as you can.

4. Grants. Depending on what your business is there are a number of small and large corporations that give away money in the form of grants. Grants are usually competitive in nature, but once you receive the money repayment is not required or expected. Grant amounts vary and some may have conditions. Once your grant period is complete, you should mail the grantor a final report clearly indicating what was accomplished with the grant money. This should be done whether or not it is required.

5. Fundraising Registry Sites. There are many fundraising sites that are geared toward nonprofits. Most fundraising sites have fees or a percentage that you are required to pay based on the amount of money you raise. The fees the site owner may charge could include a monthly user fee, or credit card fee and other nominal charges. You should check before you start using the site. Once you’ve set up your fundraising idea on the registry then it is up to your efforts to send your site link to everyone you know and request a donation. Let them know how their contribution will help you and this will motivate donors. This is a fun way to raise money through your own creativity and watch your money grow on your site. Don’t forget to say “thank you”. Some fundraising registry sites to research are Network for Good and Razoo.

6. Place a Donate Button on Website. More and more nonprofits have a “donate” button on their websites. If your ultimate goal is to fundraise then you need to consider a “donate” button on every page of your website. The internet technology today makes it easier for individuals to donate anytime without leaving the comfort of their home.

If you find a couple or even just one of the above idea’s to make sense and feel it will give your new organization enough cushion to seed your program – I would recommend that you also give some thought to investing in a part-time fundraising professional. Oftentimes, the first investment in a fundraising professional is a consultant; which is smart as it most likely will bring in more money sooner rather than later. It is important to note that it may be more beneficial to your organization in the long run to have them on staff. Whichever direction you take, give thoughtful consideration to the level of importance those donor relationships are to offer your organization sustainability over the long-haul.


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