The best way to raise funds for a charity is to organise events and ongoing activities that will simultaneously bring in funds and raise the public profile of the charity. A broad public awareness of the charity's name, goals and accomplishments makes it more likely that people will be willing to donate money. Focus your charity's fundraising efforts on targeted populations that you know to be sympathetic to your goals.
Some government grants exist for charities, funded by either federal, state or local governments. A charity needs to be registered non-profit organisation in order to be eligible for a government grant. Grant proposals are time-consuming and require a high level of skill in both writing and persuasion to be successful. Understandably, given the amounts of money being given away, the process of getting grant money tends to be extremely competitive. Some individuals make their living solely through their expertise in writing grant proposals.
A way of raising funds for charities that allows them to attain a certain level of financial stability is to acquire ongoing pledges from long-term supporters. This is a method that is frequently used by universities with their alumni, and it can raise tremendous amounts of money over the long term. Supporters are usually quite wealthy, and they agree with the goals of the charity. They commit to cutting a check for £650, £3,250, or even £6,500 every year. The supporter can use this as a tax write-off, and the charity can count on these donations as the backbone of its annual financial planning.
Charity shops are a very common means of fund raising in the UK, but they are not so common in North America. In the UK, Shops such as Oxfam, Cancer Research UK, and British Red Cross are nationwide fixtures that sell donated books, clothing and household goods at reasonable prices, thus providing people with affordable goods while simultaneously raising funds for their many charitable activities. A similar method is used by the Salvation Army, the Humane Society and many local churches in North America. Charity shops can also serve as an effective advertisement for the existence of the charity.
Special events of all kinds are frequently used by charities and non-profits to raise money. These can include performances by high-profile or local musicians; walk-a-thons in which participants solicit pledges from friends, family and neighbours; or silent auctions, where people can bid on donated merchandise or artworks. Performances can raise money through charging admission or soliciting voluntary donations. Walk-a-thons raise funds through public support; they also provide an opportunity to educate the public about relevant issues. Silent auctions are sometimes combined with performances as side events.
Endowments are the big guns of funding. An endowment is a large amount of money that is invested in some way to earn money through returns or interest. Many universities hold massive endowments, but few charities are large enough to do this. An effective endowment requires extremely large financial acquisitions, which have to be set aside and separated from the ongoing costs of running the charity. Another concern for many charities is that the endowment funds may be invested in a field that is contrary to the charity's work.