Finding funding as a new nonprofit can be extremely difficult. It comes down to what your needs are and what you and the other founders are willing to contribute. The initial bump of cash is not unlike finding investors for a new business, except you’ll need to sell the mission along with your solution.
Get things ready – so you can properly ask for funding.
Before you go out applying for random grants or asking businesses for silent auction donations, you need to establish your nonprofit correctly. People may give a few bucks because they like an idea, but few will provide a sizable check to an organization without its 501(c3) status. The process to become an official nonprofit in the eyes of the government, can take a bit of time. However, within a few weeks, you should get a letter back confirming your application, satisfying most potential donors. You can apply on your own, or you could use a service like LegalZoom to make sure everything is correct. Mistakes can cost a lot of time, so if you aren’t familiar with the legalities, using a service isn’t a bad idea.
Develop a good mission and vision statement
Having a good mission and vision statement is essential. A mission statement quickly tells the world what your doing vision tells the world your hopes and dreams. Combined, these two pieces of literature can be used as something of an elevator speech to investors. They also help you and your board stay focused over time, so the message your sending is consistent. Annnd, nobody will take you seriously if you don’t have these written and accessible – just get these done, they are important. If you need help, please reach out, at some point, we will have an article about writing a mission and vision statement.
Decide how success measured?
When people give $25 or $100, they generally don’t ask for too many details. When people or businesses give thousands, they want to know that their money is making a difference. How is your success as an organization going to be measured? Let’s say you are starting an animal shelter; success might be fewer stray dogs, dogs placed in new homes. A charity for single parents in need might measure a reduction in state aid or use of school lunch programs. The point is that you need to make it quantifiable so you can speak to the impact your organization is having or plans on having.
Show donors the value of their money.
Rather than just asking for $100, ask for $100 because that will pay for X. Figure out what things cost to within your program, break it down to small bite-size chunks and equate that to donations. Donating $100 pays for ten meals at our homeless shelter sells better than, please give $100. This isn’t limited to NPOs, showing people value in money is a sales tactic used for ages – and make no mistake you are selling when looking for donations.
Mine your surrounding resources.
Don’t overthink initial funding. It would be fantastic if a federal grant gave you 100k, or some rich barron presented a stack of cash. Grants and rich people don’t generally give money away to an unproven organization. Start funding with people you know, places you know, and your local community. If you know someone with money, offer them a board seat. A lot of NPOs have a benefactor on the board, brought on more or less because they gave some money. Ask family or friends for donations and use crowdfunding sites to mine though all those Facebook people you call friends. Small community events, silent auctions, touch a trucks, and 5k races, can get you some sweet starting cash. The point is to get established – worry about the more substantial funding plays later.
There is no right way to get initial funding for your nonprofit organization. More often than not, your success will hinge on the resources and strengths available at the start. The best thing to do is take stock of these resources, get your ducks lined up and get to funding.
A little about me
I am working on this blog to build up a bit of a writing portfolio – I am not getting paid to do this, and I am not expecting to make any money. Basically, I needed something to write about to gain a little exposure as a blogger. I have experience in the nonprofit sector; I figured as I learn to be a better writer, maybe I can help some NPOs in the process.
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