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How To Get Funding To Start A Nonprofit How To Get Funding To Start A Nonprofit


How To Get Funding To Start A Nonprofit

Learn how to secure funding for your nonprofit organization. Discover effective strategies and tips for navigating the world of nonprofit finance.

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Starting a nonprofit organization can be an incredibly rewarding endeavor. Whether you have a passion for helping a specific cause or want to make a positive impact in your community, nonprofits play a vital role in addressing societal issues and promoting social change.

However, the process of starting a nonprofit can be challenging, especially when it comes to securing the necessary funding. Nonprofit organizations rely on financial support to fulfill their missions and make a difference in the lives of others. In this article, we will guide you through the steps to effectively obtain funding for your nonprofit.

From identifying potential funding sources to creating a compelling case for support, we will provide you with practical strategies and tips to increase your chances of securing the necessary funds. Whether you are just getting started or are looking for additional funding opportunities, this article will serve as a helpful roadmap to navigate the world of nonprofit financing.

By following the steps outlined in this article, you will gain the knowledge and tools needed to launch a successful fundraising campaign, attract individual donors and corporate sponsors, and access grants and funding opportunities.

It is important to note that while funding is a crucial aspect of any nonprofit organization, it is equally essential to develop a strong and clear mission, define impactful goals, and create a sustainable strategy. Funding should support and align with your nonprofit’s mission, enabling you to carry out meaningful projects and initiatives.

Now, let’s dive into the first step in obtaining funding for your nonprofit: defining your organization’s mission and goals.


Step 1: Define your nonprofit’s mission and goals

Before embarking on your fundraising journey, it is crucial to have a clear understanding of your nonprofit’s mission and goals. Your mission is what drives your organization and defines its purpose. It is the foundation upon which all other aspects of your nonprofit will be built.

When defining your nonprofit’s mission, consider what social or environmental issue you aim to address. What is the change you want to see in the world? Your mission statement should be concise, yet compelling, and should clearly articulate the purpose of your organization.

Once you have defined your mission, it is important to establish specific and measurable goals that align with your mission. These goals will serve as a roadmap for your organization and guide your fundraising efforts. Consider what you want to achieve in the short-term and long-term and break these goals down into actionable steps.

When it comes to fundraising, having a well-defined mission and goals is essential to attract potential donors. People want to support causes that resonate with them and create meaningful impact. By clearly articulating your nonprofit’s purpose and goals, you increase your chances of connecting with individuals and organizations that share your vision.

In addition to attracting donors, a clear mission and goals also help you communicate your organization’s impact to stakeholders. Whether it’s through annual reports, fundraising campaigns, or social media updates, being able to share the progress and accomplishments of your nonprofit is crucial for maintaining donor trust and support.

As you define your nonprofit’s mission and goals, it is important to engage key stakeholders, including board members, staff, volunteers, and potentially even beneficiaries or community members. Their input and insights can help shape your organization’s mission and ensure that it reflects the needs and aspirations of the people you aim to serve.

In summary, defining your nonprofit’s mission and goals is the first step in obtaining funding. A clear and compelling mission statement will attract donors and supporters who resonate with your cause, while specific and measurable goals provide a roadmap for your organization’s success. Take the time to carefully craft your mission and goals before moving on to the next steps in securing funding for your nonprofit.


Step 2: Research potential funding sources

Once you have defined your nonprofit’s mission and goals, it’s time to research potential funding sources. Identifying the right sources of funding is crucial to ensure the sustainability and growth of your organization.

Start by exploring government grants and funding opportunities. Many governmental agencies, both at the local and national level, offer grants to support nonprofit organizations. Look for agencies that align with your mission and goals, and carefully review their eligibility requirements and application procedures.

In addition to government grants, there are also private foundations and philanthropic organizations that provide funding to nonprofits. These foundations often have specific focus areas or areas of interest, so it’s important to find ones that align with your organization’s mission. Research these foundations, review their funding guidelines, and identify opportunities to submit grant proposals.

Another potential funding source to consider is corporate giving programs. Many corporations have corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives and allocate funds to support nonprofit organizations. Research companies in your industry or those with a demonstrated commitment to social impact, and explore their giving programs or grant opportunities.

Individual donors can also be a significant source of funding for nonprofits. Think about individuals who may have a personal connection to your cause or who have expressed interest in supporting causes similar to yours. Develop a donor cultivation strategy to build relationships with potential donors, whether through fundraising events, personal meetings, or targeted communications.

Crowdfunding platforms offer another avenue for raising funds. These online platforms allow you to reach a wide audience and engage supporters who may not have been aware of your organization otherwise. Create a compelling crowdfunding campaign that clearly communicates your mission, goals, and the impact their contributions will make.

Additionally, consider exploring partnerships and collaborations with other nonprofit organizations or community groups. By joining forces, you can leverage each other’s networks and resources, potentially opening up new funding opportunities.

During your research, keep in mind that funding opportunities may have specific deadlines, eligibility criteria, and reporting requirements. It’s essential to thoroughly review each funding source’s guidelines and ensure that your organization meets all the necessary requirements.

By conducting thorough research and identifying potential funding sources that align with your mission and goals, you’ll increase your chances of securing the financial support you need to make a meaningful impact.


Step 3: Develop a compelling case for support

In order to effectively secure funding for your nonprofit, you need to develop a compelling case for support that resonates with potential donors and funders. A strong case for support clearly articulates why your organization is deserving of financial investment and how the funds will be used to create a positive impact.

When crafting your case for support, begin by detailing the specific issue or problem your nonprofit aims to address. Explain why this issue is important and provide statistical data or real-life examples to demonstrate its relevance and urgency. This will help donors and funders understand the significance and impact of your work.

Next, outline your organization’s unique approach or solution to this issue. Highlight what makes your nonprofit different from others working in the same space. Focus on the innovative strategies, programs, or services that set you apart and showcase your ability to create long-lasting change.

It is crucial to clearly communicate your nonprofit’s goals and objectives. Explain the outcomes you aim to achieve and how these outcomes align with the overall mission and vision of your organization. Use measurable indicators to demonstrate progress and success, such as the number of lives impacted, communities served, or policy changes implemented.

In addition to outlining your goals, address the specific funding need you are seeking to fulfill. Clearly articulate the financial resources required to support your programs or projects. Break down the costs and provide a budget overview that demonstrates how each dollar will be allocated to maximize impact.

Throughout your case for support, incorporate compelling stories and testimonials from beneficiaries, volunteers, or community members who have been positively impacted by your organization’s work. These stories humanize your cause and create an emotional connection with potential donors and funders.

Demonstrate transparency and accountability by outlining how you will track and evaluate the impact of the funds received. Explain your reporting practices and how you will provide regular updates to donors regarding the progress and achievements of your organization.

Once you have developed your case for support, tailor it to fit the specific funding source or donor you are approaching. Customize your message to align with their values, interests, and funding priorities. Personalize your correspondence and demonstrate an understanding of their mission and goals.

A compelling case for support serves as the foundation for your fundraising efforts. It allows potential donors and funders to understand the importance of your work and feel motivated to contribute to your cause. Continuously refine and update your case for support to ensure it remains current, relevant, and impactful.


Step 4: Build a strong board of directors

Building a strong board of directors is essential for the success and sustainability of your nonprofit organization. The board plays a critical role in providing strategic guidance, making important decisions, and supporting fundraising efforts.

When assembling your board of directors, aim to bring together a diverse group of individuals with a range of skills, experiences, and networks. Consider professionals from various fields such as finance, law, marketing, and nonprofit management. Look for individuals who are passionate about your cause and have a strong commitment to advancing your organization’s mission.

Start by identifying potential board members within your existing network. Reach out to individuals who share your passion for the cause and who have relevant expertise or connections. Engage in conversations about your organization’s mission, goals, and the impact you aim to create.

As you recruit board members, clearly communicate the expectations and responsibilities of the role. Ideally, board members should have a clear understanding of their fiduciary duty, the importance of active participation, and their role in fundraising. Emphasize the significance of personal financial contributions and encourage board members to leverage their networks to solicit donations and corporate sponsorships.

In addition to their financial commitments, board members should also contribute their time, skills, and expertise. Assign specific roles and responsibilities to each board member, such as overseeing finance, marketing, or program development. By leveraging the strengths of each individual, the board can collectively contribute to the success of your organization.

It’s essential to foster a culture of trust, collaboration, and mutual respect within the board. Encourage open and honest communication, allow for different viewpoints, and create an environment where ideas are valued. Regularly schedule board meetings to discuss organizational updates, challenges, and opportunities.

Invest in board development and provide educational opportunities to enhance the skills and knowledge of your board members. Offer training sessions on nonprofit governance, fundraising strategies, and legal and financial responsibilities. This will ensure that your board is equipped to make informed decisions and effectively contribute to the organization.

As your organization grows, periodically evaluate the performance and effectiveness of your board. Assess if board members are fulfilling their responsibilities and contributing meaningfully to your nonprofit’s mission. Consider conducting annual self-evaluations and seek feedback from board members to identify areas for improvement.

A strong board of directors not only provides guidance and support, but it also inspires confidence in potential funders. Prospective donors are more likely to contribute to an organization that has a capable and committed board. By building a strong board, you enhance your nonprofit’s credibility and increase your chances of securing funding.


Step 5: Create a comprehensive budget and fundraising plan

Creating a comprehensive budget and fundraising plan is essential for the financial success and sustainability of your nonprofit organization. These documents serve as roadmaps, guiding your financial decisions and ensuring that you have the resources necessary to achieve your mission and goals.

Start by developing a detailed budget that outlines your anticipated income and expenses. Factor in all potential revenue streams, such as grants, individual donations, corporate sponsorships, and fundraising events. Take into account both one-time and recurring expenses, such as salaries, office rent, program costs, marketing materials, and administrative expenses.

When creating your budget, be realistic in your revenue projections while carefully considering the costs associated with executing your organization’s programs and initiatives. It’s important to strike a balance between ambitious fundraising goals and a budget that is realistic and achievable.

Once you have established your budget, it’s time to create a fundraising plan. This plan outlines the strategies and tactics you will employ to secure the necessary funds to support your organization’s operations and initiatives.

Start by identifying specific fundraising goals and objectives. Set clear targets for the amount of funding you aim to raise through different sources, such as grants, individual donations, and corporate sponsorships. These goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).

Next, consider the different fundraising strategies and tactics that align with your goals. This may include grant writing, major gift solicitations, online crowdfunding campaigns, fundraising events, and corporate partnerships. Each strategy should be tailored to your target audience and the methods they are most likely to respond to.

Segment your donor base and develop personalized cultivation and stewardship plans for each group. This can include sending regular newsletters, organizing donor appreciation events, and providing personalized updates on the impact of their contributions. Focus on building long-term relationships with donors, rather than solely seeking one-time contributions.

As part of your fundraising plan, develop a timeline for key fundraising activities throughout the year. This helps you stay organized and ensures that you are consistently engaging with donors and implementing your fundraising strategies.

Regularly evaluate and measure the success of your fundraising efforts. Track the progress towards your fundraising goals and review the effectiveness of different strategies. Use this data to inform future fundraising decisions and refine your approach.

Remember that fundraising is an ongoing process, and it requires a dedicated and consistent effort. Continuously review and update your fundraising plan to adapt to changing circumstances and donor preferences.

By creating a comprehensive budget and fundraising plan, you are setting your nonprofit up for financial success. These documents provide a clear roadmap for your fundraising initiatives and help you ensure the necessary resources are available to fulfill your mission and drive positive impact.


Step 6: Apply for grants and funding opportunities

Applying for grants and funding opportunities is a crucial step in securing financial support for your nonprofit organization. Grants can provide significant resources to help you achieve your mission and fund specific programs or projects. Here are some key steps to successfully navigate the grant application process.

Start by researching and identifying potential grant opportunities that align with your organization’s mission and goals. Look for foundations, government agencies, and other funding sources that have a focus on your cause or the specific issue you aim to address. Pay attention to their funding priorities, eligibility requirements, and application deadlines.

Read and understand the grant guidelines thoroughly before starting the application process. Make note of any specific instructions or requirements, such as word limits, supporting documents, or budget templates. Failure to follow these guidelines could result in your application being disqualified.

Next, develop a compelling grant proposal that effectively communicates your organization’s mission, programs, and the impact you aim to create. Tailor your proposal to the specific grant opportunity, highlighting how your project matches the funder’s goals and objectives. Clearly articulate the need for funding, the activities you will undertake, and the outcomes you expect to achieve.

Provide accurate and detailed information about your organization’s history, expertise, and track record of success. Highlight any past accomplishments, partnerships, or collaborations that demonstrate your organization’s capacity to effectively implement the proposed project.

Ensure your budget is well-structured and aligns with the guidelines and requirements of the grant opportunity. Clearly outline the expenses you expect to incur and how the grant funds will be utilized. Include a detailed budget narrative that explains the rationale behind your cost estimates.

Before submitting your grant application, carefully review and proofread all sections to ensure clarity, coherence, and accuracy. Consider having someone else review your application as well to provide fresh insights and catch any errors or inconsistencies.

Track and record all grant submissions and their corresponding deadlines. Create a system to stay organized and follow up on submitted applications. Keep copies of all submitted materials for future reference and reporting.

In some cases, you may not be successful in securing every grant you apply for. Use feedback received from funders to learn and improve your future grant applications. Consider reaching out to funders to ask for feedback if it is available.

Remember, grant funding is competitive, and rejection is not necessarily a reflection of your organization’s value or potential. Stay persistent and keep exploring new grant opportunities that align with your mission.

By following these steps, you can increase your chances of securing grant funding to support your nonprofit’s work and make a positive impact in your community.


Step 7: Utilize crowdfunding and online fundraising platforms

In today’s digital age, crowdfunding and online fundraising platforms have become powerful tools for nonprofits to raise funds and engage supporters. These platforms allow you to reach a broader audience, share your organization’s story, and harness the power of online communities. Here are some steps to effectively utilize crowdfunding and online fundraising platforms for your nonprofit.

First, research and select the crowdfunding platform that best aligns with your organization’s mission and fundraising goals. There are several popular platforms available, such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo, GoFundMe, and Mightycause. Consider the platform’s fees, user interface, customization options, and success rate in supporting nonprofits.

Create a compelling campaign story that tugs at the heartstrings of potential donors. Clearly explain the purpose of your fundraising efforts, the impact the funds will make, and why people should support your cause. Use engaging visuals, including images and videos, to convey your message effectively.

Set a realistic fundraising goal that reflects the necessary resources needed to carry out your project or initiative. Be transparent about how the funds will be used and why they are critical to achieving your goals.

Develop incentives or rewards for different levels of donations to encourage larger contributions. These incentives could include branded merchandise, exclusive access to events, or recognition on your organization’s website or social media channels.

Utilize social media and other digital marketing channels to promote your crowdfunding campaign. Share regular updates and progress reports to keep supporters engaged and informed about the impact their contributions are making.

Engage your board members, staff, volunteers, and community members to become ambassadors for your crowdfunding campaign. Encourage them to share the campaign with their networks and actively participate in fundraising efforts. Personal connections and testimonials can greatly enhance the success of your campaign.

Consider hosting a virtual event to rally support and create excitement around your crowdfunding campaign. This could be a live-streamed concert, webinar, or Q&A session with beneficiaries or experts in your field. Make sure to promote the event on your crowdfunding page and social media platforms.

Express gratitude and provide regular updates to your donors throughout and after the campaign. Acknowledge their contributions and share stories of how their support is making a difference. This will help foster long-term relationships and encourage continued support.

Keep in mind that crowdfunding campaigns require ongoing effort and promotion. Continuously monitor and evaluate the success of your campaign, making adjustments as necessary. Remember to follow best practices and comply with the terms and conditions of the crowdfunding platform you are using.

By leveraging crowdfunding and online fundraising platforms, you can tap into the power of digital communities and engage supporters from around the world. These platforms provide a cost-effective and accessible way to raise funds for your nonprofit and amplify your impact.


Step 8: Cultivate relationships with individual donors and corporate sponsors

Developing strong relationships with individual donors and corporate sponsors is essential for the sustained financial support of your nonprofit organization. These relationships can provide valuable funding, resources, and partnerships that enable you to further your mission and make a greater impact. Here are some key steps to effectively cultivate relationships with individual donors and corporate sponsors.

First, identify potential individual donors and corporate sponsors who have a connection or interest in your cause. Research individuals who have previously supported similar organizations or who have a demonstrated passion for the issues your nonprofit addresses. Similarly, identify corporations that have a track record of supporting causes aligned with your mission.

Personalize your approach when reaching out to potential donors and sponsors. Tailor your communication to reflect their interests, values, and philanthropic goals. Make the effort to learn about their background and ensure that your organization’s mission and impact align with their personal or corporate values.

Establish credibility and trust by sharing the impact and success of your organization’s initiatives. Provide donors and sponsors with regular updates on how their contributions have made a difference. Share stories and testimonials from beneficiaries, illustrating the direct impact of their support.

Engage potential donors and sponsors beyond just asking for financial support. Invite them to events, volunteer opportunities, or strategy sessions where they can actively participate and see firsthand the work your organization does. Building a personal connection and involving them in your mission strengthens the relationship.

Create recognition and stewardship programs to show your appreciation for individual donors and corporate sponsors. Acknowledge their contributions publicly, provide exclusive access to events or experiences, or offer partnership opportunities that showcase their commitment to your cause.

Regularly communicate with donors and sponsors to keep them informed about your organization’s activities, achievements, and future plans. Send personalized thank-you notes, newsletters, and impact reports to demonstrate the value of their support and the difference it is making.

Consider establishing a donor or sponsor advisory group where individuals and corporate representatives can provide input, guidance, and feedback. This can foster a sense of ownership and engagement, making them more invested in your organization’s success.

Keep in mind that relationship cultivation is an ongoing process. Regularly update your database with current contact information and preferences. Schedule follow-up meetings or calls to check in and assess their continued interest and support.

Finally, steward and nurture these relationships even after donations have been made. Continually demonstrate the impact of their investment, involve them in your organization’s successes, and invite them to special events or initiatives.

Cultivating relationships with individual donors and corporate sponsors takes time and effort, but it can lead to long-term partnerships and sustainable funding for your nonprofit. By building strong connections and demonstrating the value of their support, you can enhance their involvement and maximize the impact of their contributions.


Step 9: Host fundraising events and campaigns

Hosting fundraising events and campaigns can be an effective strategy to raise funds, engage supporters, and create awareness for your nonprofit organization. These events and campaigns provide opportunities for individuals and communities to come together in support of your cause. Here are some key steps to successfully plan and execute fundraising events and campaigns.

First, define your fundraising goals and objectives for the event or campaign. Determine the amount of funds you aim to raise, the specific purpose or project the funds will support, and the target audience you want to reach. This will guide your planning and marketing efforts.

Choose the right type of event or campaign that aligns with your organization’s mission, resources, and target audience. It could be a gala dinner, charity auction, walk/run event, online crowdfunding campaign, or a digital fundraising challenge. Consider what will resonate most with your target audience and what aligns with their preferences.

Develop a comprehensive event or campaign plan that includes key elements such as the date, venue (if applicable), theme, logistics, and budget. Outline the necessary tasks, responsibilities, and a timeline to ensure everything runs smoothly.

Utilize various marketing and promotional strategies to generate excitement and awareness for your event or campaign. Leverage social media platforms, email newsletters, your organization’s website, and local media outlets to spread the word. Create engaging content, including videos, graphics, and testimonials from beneficiaries, volunteers, or donors.

Engage your supporters and community members by encouraging them to actively participate in your event or campaign. Offer volunteer opportunities, peer-to-peer fundraising options, or sponsorship packages. Encourage them to share the event or campaign with their networks and amplify its reach.

Consider partnerships and collaborations with other organizations or businesses to expand your reach and pool of potential donors. Seek out sponsors who align with your nonprofit’s mission and values, and offer them promotional opportunities and recognition in return for their support.

During the event or campaign, create a positive and memorable experience for participants. Provide engaging activities, meaningful storytelling, and opportunities for your supporters to connect with one another and learn more about your organization’s impact.

Express gratitude to all participants, donors, sponsors, and volunteers throughout and after the event or campaign. Acknowledge their contributions and the role they played in helping you achieve your fundraising goals. Share stories and updates on the specific initiatives or projects that their support will support.

After the event or campaign, conduct a thorough evaluation to assess its success and identify areas for improvement. Review the financial outcomes, participant feedback, and the overall impact of the event or campaign. Use this information to refine your approach for future events or campaigns.

Hosting fundraising events and campaigns can be a powerful way to engage your community, raise funds, and create a lasting impact. By organizing memorable and impactful experiences, you’ll not only generate financial support but also strengthen relationships with your supporters and promote the mission and values of your nonprofit organization.


Step 10: Monitor and evaluate your fundraising efforts

Monitoring and evaluating your fundraising efforts is a crucial step in ensuring the effectiveness and success of your fundraising strategies. By regularly assessing and analyzing your fundraising activities, you can identify areas of improvement, optimize your approach, and maximize the impact of your efforts. Here are some key steps to effectively monitor and evaluate your fundraising efforts.

Establish clear and measurable goals for your fundraising efforts. These goals can include the amount of funds to be raised, the number of new donors to acquire, or the percentage increase in donor retention. By setting specific targets, you can easily track your progress and measure your success.

Regularly track and analyze key performance indicators (KPIs) related to fundraising. This can include the total funds raised, the average gift size, donor acquisition and retention rates, and the return on investment (ROI) of different fundraising strategies. Use these metrics to measure the effectiveness of your efforts and identify areas for improvement.

Develop a comprehensive system for tracking and recording donor information. This can be done through a constituent relationship management (CRM) system, spreadsheets, or other software tools. Ensure that all donor interactions, communications, and transactions are properly documented and easily accessible for analysis.

Conduct donor surveys and solicit feedback to gain insights into their experiences and satisfaction with your fundraising activities. This feedback can help you understand the motivations and preferences of your donors, identify areas for improvement, and refine your fundraising strategies.

Regularly evaluate the performance and ROI of your different fundraising strategies and tactics. This can include grant applications, events, online campaigns, direct mail appeals, and major gift solicitations. Determine which strategies are yielding the highest returns and consider reallocating resources accordingly.

Compare your fundraising performance to industry benchmarks and best practices to gain a sense of how your organization is performing relative to others in the field. This can help you identify any areas where you may be falling behind or excelling, and guide your decision-making process.

Review your budget and financial reports regularly to ensure that your fundraising efforts are aligned with your financial goals and objectives. Identify any discrepancies or areas where you may need to make adjustments to optimize your fundraising activities.

Communicate the results of your monitoring and evaluation efforts to your board of directors, staff, and other stakeholders. Share insights and takeaways from your analysis, and discuss potential strategies for improvement or expansion.

Utilize the insights gained from monitoring and evaluation to refine and enhance your fundraising strategies. Make data-driven decisions and experiment with new approaches to continually improve the effectiveness and impact of your fundraising efforts.

By consistently monitoring, evaluating, and learning from your fundraising efforts, you can make informed decisions, maximize your resources, and achieve greater success in securing financial support for your nonprofit organization.



Securing funding for your nonprofit organization is a crucial step in fulfilling your mission and making a positive impact. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can navigate the world of fundraising with confidence and effectiveness.

Start by defining your nonprofit’s mission and goals, ensuring that they are clear, compelling, and aligned with the needs of your community. Research potential funding sources, including government grants, private foundations, corporate sponsors, and individual donors. Develop a comprehensive budget and fundraising plan that outlines your financial needs and the strategies you will employ to secure funds.

As you embark on your fundraising journey, remember the importance of building strong relationships with individual donors and corporate sponsors. Cultivate these relationships through personalized communications, stewardship activities, and involving them in your organization’s initiatives. Host engaging fundraising events and campaigns that rally support and create awareness for your cause. Utilize crowdfunding and online fundraising platforms to tap into the power of digital communities.

Monitor and evaluate your fundraising efforts regularly to measure your progress, identify areas for improvement, and optimize your strategies. Keep track of key performance indicators and gather feedback from donors and supporters to gain valuable insights.

Remember, fundraising is an ongoing process that requires dedication, adaptability, and relationship-building. Stay true to your mission and vision, and continuously refine your approach based on the ever-evolving needs of your organization and community.

By implementing these steps and integrating them into your nonprofit’s fundraising strategy, you will be well-equipped to secure the financial resources needed to create lasting change and positively impact the lives of those you serve.