How to Raise Money for a Nonprofit (7 Strategies for 2023)

Fundraising is essential to keeping any nonprofit afloat. Each year, nonprofits need to be crafting winning strategies that will raise the most amount of money for their causes as possible.

In this post, we will look at seven different nonprofit fundraising ideas to help inspire your next fundraising strategy. While some of these ideas may seem obvious at first, keeping your fundraising avenues versatile and flexible by covering multiple bases is the key to maximizing revenue.

What is Nonprofit Fundraising?

Fundraising

To put it simply, nonprofit fundraising is the means through which nonprofits raise revenue for their causes. This is typically done by the nonprofit asking another entity—be that an individual, a corporation, a government agency, or another foundation—for money.

This solicitation for donations can be done either virtually or in person and can be done for individual giving campaigns or to cover operational expenses. This is where the majority of the nonprofit’s revenue will come from, and therefore, crafting effective fundraising strategies requires the most attention from the nonprofit’s staff.

Why is Nonprofit Fundraising Important?

Public Relationship

Besides being the main form through which nonprofits collect money, fundraising is perhaps the main way nonprofits form relationships with the general public.

Think about it. What are the ways you interact with the nonprofits you support?

Be it by donating your own money or by volunteering your time to help with specific campaigns, fundraising is how others outside of a nonprofit get the opportunity to interact with the organization.

A flexible and diversified fundraising strategy can facilitate the building of that bond, as it reduces frustrations on the donor’s end and makes them feel like the nonprofit is welcoming of supporters like them.

Furthermore, fundraising is crucial to helping nonprofits fulfill their mission.

Whether your nonprofit seeks to help hospitals buy medical equipment, support a local library to upgrade their computers, or help a park protect local wildlife, the way you achieve each of these milestones is by utilizing the money gathered through your fundraising efforts.

7 Strategies to Raise Money for Your Nonprofit

Money bag

Now that you know what nonprofit fundraising is and why it is so vital for your organization, let’s talk about seven different strategies you can utilize to raise more money for your nonprofit.

1. Create a Donation Page

Perhaps one of the most obvious nonprofit fundraising strategies is developing a donation page. A donation page is exactly what it sounds like—a page on your website through which visitors can donate money.

You do not need to overthink donation pages too much, but you do need to be sure that you are making the process as simple to use and easy to understand as possible. Remember that every second potential donor has to spend trying to figure out how to send you money, chips away at their patience and their generosity.

Take a look at this donation page from the World Wide Fund for Nature as an example.

World Wide Fund for Nature donation page

See how intuitive it is? The page is professional and polished, easy to navigate, and the colors and design make it pretty obvious what one must do to successfully complete the donation. Furthermore, the page gives people the flexibility to donate different amounts.

Make sure your page is also as easy to navigate on mobile as it is on the web. And if you’re running a campaign, it’s a good idea to create a tracker showing how close you are to reaching your goal.

A donation page is a great way to raise funds from individuals who perhaps cannot yet commit to donating on a regular basis but still wish to support your cause.

2. Start a Membership Program

For those who do wish to offer your nonprofit ongoing support, a membership program is a good fundraising strategy to implement.

Membership programs involve members donating an amount of money on a timely basis—usually a monthly basis—to help with (most often) the operational expenses of running a nonprofit. This steady and predictable revenue can make a big difference in planning for the future and strategizing for individual giving campaigns.

The key to nonprofit membership programs is to make them flexible, with different tier levels that allow individuals with different financial means to donate as much or as little as they are comfortable.

Many nonprofits also use small incentives to encourage this type of support. If you choose to do this, however, remember to make sure these benefits not only make financial sense for their tier level but also will not require so much time to accomplish that it would take away focus from other important tasks.

Finally, make sure to not end all communications once you gain someone’s recurrent support. There’s nothing worse than pledging your support for a cause, only to receive no updates on how the nonprofit is using the funds raised to achieve its goals.

If you do not make your membership supporters feel appreciated and if you do not keep them informed, then they will feel used. This, in turn, might make them cancel their membership. 

3. Send Fundraising Letters, Emails, and Texts

Speaking of communication, sending out fundraising letters, emails, and texts is another great fundraising idea.

If you’ve ever supported any cause, you’ve seen these before. They are a classic strategy that relies on telling a compelling story that gets the potential donor emotionally invested in the cause, and then uses that emotional investment to get them to donate.

These messages typically present the potential donor with a problem that can only be solved through the combined efforts of caring individuals. A good fundraising message will encourage action through donation, making one feel like an essential part of a bigger mission.

These messages do not need to be long or even overly complicated. Think about your cause, think about why you care so much about it, and think about why it is so important that we take action now. If carefully crafted, these sentiments can be as well conveyed through five paragraphs as they can through a few snappy lines of text.

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4. Plan and Host an Event

You’ve certainly heard of this nonprofit fundraising strategy before. Think of the fancy galas with live music and delicious four course-dinners, marathons that bring thousands of strangers together beneath the summer sun, or even a fair with different tents, booths, and other activities and competitions.

All of these events provide your supporters with a fun day or evening in celebration of your shared cause. When done successfully, they foster a sense of community, making everyone feel united in your mission’s journey.

Typically, nonprofit fundraising events raise funds through the following:

  • Ticket Sales
  • Merchandise Sales
  • Raffles
  • Live Auctions

Try to tie in the event to your cause and your supporter’s interests. For example, The Basset Hound Rescue of Southern California has been hosting a yearly spring fundraising competition since 1997. As their nonprofit’s mission is to rescue and rehome basset hounds who were in abusive and neglectful environments, a fun dog event at a park is far more suitable for the nonprofit and its supporters than a fancy gala at a luxury hotel.

If done well, these can become regular annual events that your supporters will always look forward to.

5. Hold a Silent Auction

Not every fundraising effort needs to be loud and bombastic.

Silent auctions are virtual events that involve setting up an auction page for your supporters to bid on items for a determined amount of time. Once the period of the silent auction comes to an end—be it days, weeks, or even a month after launch—the person who gave the highest bid wins the prize.

Think of it as eBay for nonprofits fundraising.

You can sell just about anything at a silent auction, from collection items to weekends at spas. Many companies and celebrities will even collaborate with nonprofits by either donating something related to their brand or by sponsoring a special dinner or giving a stay at their establishment. If you know of any brands or influencers who are somehow connected to your cause, reach out to see if they’d be interested in helping out.

That being said, just because this is a “Silent Auction,” doesn’t mean your promoting of it should be silent.

Social media will be crucial in ensuring this fundraising effort is not a complete bust. This is another way in which celebrities and companies could be useful.

If they are donating an item—be it a physical collector’s item or a special occasion—have them advertise the auction on their social media page. Their followers are the ones who are most likely to be interested in said items, after all. Even if they are not, they might still learn about your nonprofit and consider donating to your cause in other ways.

6. Look for a Corporate Sponsorship or Partnership

Speaking of brands, consider taking on corporate sponsorships.

Corporate sponsorships are a win-win scenario for both parties involved. Not only does the corporation gain the benefits of good publicity and tax right-offs, but they also get the opportunity to give back in the way that matters most to them. For nonprofits, the partnership allows them to extend their reach beyond what they could have achieved on their own while also increasing funds.

Either way, this is a fundraising strategy that can not only increase revenue for your nonprofit but also increase visibility. Just remember to research possible sponsors thoroughly to ensure they are a match with your nonprofit’s values. And be sure to get a lawyer to draft a detailed contract.

The Trevor Project shows a good example of how multiple corporate sponsorships can help increase donations through selling products. Famously, Ben & Jerry’s and Stephen Colbert AmeriCone Dream also donate some of their profits to charitable causes.

The Trevor Project multiple corporate sponsorships

7. Apply for Grants

Finally, one of the best ways to raise more money for your nonprofit is by securing grants.

Grants are crucial for nonprofits, and they can make a huge difference in helping them achieve their goals. They can be offered by foundations, corporations, and even government agencies.

Despite the thousands of grants available out there, not all of them will be suited for your nonprofit. To top it off, every grant will have different application requirements and many grants may also request follow-up reports detailing how the funds were used.

Vetting each of these criteria carefully to make sure your nonprofit is eligible and then completing the application by the deadline is a time-consuming, painstaking process. The rewards, however, can be great, and this is how Instrumentl can become a vital tool in your fundraising strategy.

How to Use Instrumentl to Apply and Win More Grants

Grant winner

Instrumentl is a tool that allows nonprofits to more efficiently navigate the grant application process by helping its users find available grants that align with their mission and/or specific projects.

Previous recipient and funder data help Instrumentl users to better sort through Instrumentl’s personalized recommendations. Instrumentl’s resources also give users a chance to better tailor their grant writing, providing them the opportunity to learn from both their successes and mistakes of the past.

Instrumentl can also help nonprofits:

  • Keep track of upcoming deadlines,
  • Keep their entire team informed on how the process is going
  • Manage and assign grant-related tasks
  • Create reports to present to board members or other staff
  • And more!

If grants are part of your fundraising strategy, then Instrumentl is an all-in-one tool that will make this otherwise complicated and nebulous process easier to handle.

Wrapping Up: How to Raise Money for a Nonprofit (7 Strategies for 2023)

Strategy

Fundraising is crucial for any nonprofit to function properly. However, for a nonprofit to thrive, one must strategize carefully.

To maximize revenues in upcoming years, it is important for nonprofits to not only be flexible but also versatile. With these seven strategies at your disposal, you can cover all of your bases by broadening your audience and diversifying revenue streams so you can raise more money for your mission.

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