Mar 15, 2007

Fundraising for your Nonprofit

Aspiration's leadership team met a couple of days ago to discuss and update our fundraising strategy for the year. We divided the meeting into three fundraising strategy areas.

1. Individual Donors

2. Corporate Funding/Events Sponsorship

3. Foundation Funding

We are following a different strategy for each fundraising area. If you are new to fundraising or need a refresher course, here's a brief description of each fundraising area.

1. Individual Donors:

Make a list of who you know, then send them a letter about your organization and ask them for money. Organizations solicit money from individual donors by phone, e-mail, in person or online. It is beneficial to involve board members in individual donor fundraising efforts by asking them to share their contacts and also meet or talk to donors on the phone. Grassroots Fundraising Journal provides tips and training about how to fundraise through individual donations.

2. Corporate funding:

The key to soliciting corporate donations is to start small. It is good to print out a list of local businesses from Smart Pages and ask them to donate to the organization’s next big event or holiday giving program. Many small businesses are willing to help.

Another way to get corporate funding is to apply for a corporate grant. Each city has many well-known large corporations with specific giving departments. Each summer the San Francisco Business Times publishes their Corporate Philanthropy issue. It highlights the key Corporate Donors in the Bay Area. See if the local newspaper in your city does the same. Many corporations have similar Grant Proposal requirements to foundations while other corporations want donation requests to be submitted at the individual store level.

3. Foundation Funding:

The key to winning foundation support is through getting to know the foundation’s Program officers and writing a winning grant proposal. Free grant writing workshops are available through the Foundation Center as well as a paid monthly Foundation grant search service. Although the task of writing a grant may seem overwhelming, there are four distinct steps in the grant writing process.

  • First, research what grants to apply for.
  • Second, outline the proposal requirements.
  • Third, write the content based on following. a step-by-step outline.
  • Last, reward yourself and track the grants.

National Network of Grantmakers provides a template grant proposal organizations can use, however many foundations have specific grant proposal requirements.

Also, there are other fundraising areas I don't mention in this post--Planned Giving, and Government Funding.


(These fundraising descriptions are taken from my Nonprofit Operations Tool Kit)


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