How to get funding for nonprofit organizations

All businesses require cash infusions, and non-profit must get funding to continue providing services or support to their constituents. Non-profit and not-for-profits can acquire funding through several ways. Donations form the bulk of funding to most non-profit, followed by grants from corporations, foundations and private individuals. Acquire donations and find grant funding by using these steps. Perseverance and time are necessary for you to get funding for non-profit organisations.

Solicit donations for your non-profit organisation. Seek donors with interests similar to what your organisation provides. Donors may be former recipients of your services, relatives or friends of someone receiving benefit from your organisation or strangers looking to support your work. Make a list of people who you think would donate funding to your organisation. Mailing lists may be rented from many major list brokers to help you send mass mailings and e-mails seeking donations for your non-profit organisation.

Craft a plan to reach those donors. Telephone, write, e-mail or otherwise contact possible donors. Write a letter or e-mail and have it printed or ready to send asking for donations. Drive people to your website to find out more information about your services, share testimonials and provide an easy, secure online way for people to donate to your organisation. Send personal thank you notes to everyone who makes a donation, even if it's just a few lines in a simple card. A simple gift is also appreciated, although some donors prefer not to receive a gift. These people would like to see every penny donated back to the services provided by the non-profit.

Join a non-profit association for directors of non-profit groups. These associations network frequently and share tips on how to find funding. They may also provide access to lists of grants.

Grants are gifts of money awarded to non-profit for specific uses. Grants may be obtained through corporate or private foundations and occasionally from private individuals. Find grants through online sources or print directories available at local libraries or bookstores.

Look for grants that match your organisation's missions and goals. Most granting organisations require a detailed plan. Just because a company has non-profit tax status doesn't mean it can skip the basic steps of business management. Write a plan with carefully outlined financial and other goals. Granting organisations are like investors and they want details on how their money will be used.

Apply for grant funds. Visit each grant organisation's website and read through the requirements carefully. Every grant requires different paperwork to be completed and a missed step can throw your application out of the running. Prepare financial documents, background documents and your grant application carefully, making sure it is submitted by the deadline. Grant proposals follow specific formats. Take your time and write your proposal carefully, succinctly and thoroughly. Your proposal is like a sales letter. You are 'selling' the grant organisation on why it should invest in your non-profit. See samples of effective grant proposals online to learn the proper format.

Private donors are the last and most sought-after source of funding for non-profit, but they are also the rarest. Wealthy individuals often contribute through private foundations established in their names. Find these foundations in books and websites with grant information. The application process is the same as for grants, but the selection process more varied, because the foundation is run in accordance with the wishes of the family or individual. He or she may have highly specific requests on how the money is used, and may be highly selective in who receives a grant.


It is difficult, but not impossible, to obtain funding through grants and foundations. Time and perseverance are the key. Other ways to raise capital include auctions, galas, parties and similar events. These are outside the scope of this article, but consider the many ways you can promote your services and solicit donations outside of mail and e-mail. Make it easy for people to donate to you by providing tax information, receipts and an easily navigated website to accept donations.


Never try to fool a foundation and lie about your suitability for the grant. All foundations and grant organisations require quarterly and yearly reports and paperwork to be completed detailing how their money has been used.

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About the Author

Jeanne Grunert has been a writer since 1990. Covering business, marketing, gardening and health topics, her work has appeared in the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books, "Horse Illustrated" and many national publications. Grunert earned her Master of Arts in writing from Queens College and a Master of Science in direct and interactive marketing from New York University.