Fundraising is the process of soliciting and gathering voluntary contributions of money or other resources, by requesting donations from individuals, businesses, foundations or government agencies. Fundraising is critical in running a non-profit organization. Non-profits need funds to support their mission and maintain their operations. Funds will go directly to programming and paying staff members as well as general needs that an organization has.
Non-profits can receive donations from a few different sources including individuals, foundations and companies. Below are some of the main ways that non-profits can raise funds for their organization:
Direct Outreach is a great way for non-profits to fundraise to ask supporters to donate. You are able to reach them directly and show them how they can contribute. Direct mail is still used by larger organizations but email is increasingly becoming the preferred method. With email outreach non-profits are able to directly link supporters to their website where they can make a contribution quickly and easily.
Non-profits put on events and can invite current supporters and their guests to generate funds. At events, ticket sales, raffles, and silent auctions are all different ways to fundraise. Silent auctions specifically are great tool for organizations. Supporters can bid on new items while directly supporting the organization. Non-profits can often times acquire these items for free from companies that are willing to make a donation of products in exchange for publicity. Silent Auction items are great in-kind donations for a non-profit organization to receive as they are able to use it in an auction and able to use the funds raised in any way.
Grants are another source of funds that mostly come from foundations but can also come from governments as well. Grants are non-repayable funds disbursed from one party to another. There is usually an application process as funds are limited and non-profits are selected by the grant maker. Non-profits can find foundations and can sometimes apply directly on their website. Foundations often share their grant recipients on their website. This helps potential applicants to see if their organization would be a good fit. One important thing to know is that most grants are made to fund a specific project within a non-profit organization. There are also unrestricted grants that can be used towards general operating expenses. Unfortunately, these grants aren’t as common and tend to be awarded to newer non-profits that are just getting started.
Companies will often donate some of their profits to non-profit organizations they would like to support. Many companies also encourage their employees to donate and will sometimes even match employees contributions to a non-profit. Another way that many corporations and companies are giving is through in-kind support. Companies will donate excess inventory that a non-profit can use or even donate their services and expertise to benefit a non-profit.