How to get grants & sponsors for nonprofit organizations

Updated April 13, 2017

Non-profit organisations or tax-exempt charitable organisations often provide much needed services in communities through social service programs, literacy, education and other programming. Although non-profit organisations are not required to pay taxes, they do need to establish a diverse funding base to continue their programming and finance their operating support. Non-profits must diversify their funding base, which often include getting grants and sponsors.

Outline the specific needs of your organisation by reviewing your budget and determining where there is a lack of funding. You should review the amount of support required for your programs and operating support to cover salaries and other daily expenses.

Narrow down your list of potential fund sources by creating a prospect information form that summarises the type of funding a foundation provides, the amount, their areas of interest, grant deadlines, how to apply and other pertinent information. Organising these forms will help you establish a funding calendar that your organisation can follow.

Gather pertinent data about your community and your organizational statistics. This is essential when you are trying to prove the need of a grant and a program in your area. For example, if you are running a homeless shelter, you may want to provide statistics about the number of homeless and how many you served over the last year. Providing facts can demonstrate the need for your programs and create insight into problems within your community.

Develop a proposal or follow the guidelines provided by the funding source. Although you should not submit the same proposal to multiple sources, you will reuse some pertinent information and it often proves beneficial to have a standard document from which you gather information. This may include information about your organisation's history and mission, accomplishments, board of directors and staff. Create a funding request that carefully examines why you need funding, how you plan to spend the grant money, as well as your goals and objectives. Make sure that you include a justified budget for your grant request.

Search for potential sponsors by considering businesses in your community, as well as larger corporations that may have an interest in your organisation. For example, if you offer health screenings, you may consider contacting pharmaceutical or medical supply companies.

Set up sponsorship levels. If an event or program is small, you may simply choose to have different ads for different levels of sponsors. Depending on the event, you may want to offer a sponsor banner, advertising, dinner table, logo on your website or other options.

Draft a letter that requests support from the corporate sponsor or make phone calls to potential sponsors. Make sure that you link your mission or goals to the potential corporate sponsor's area of interest. Introduce your organisation and your specific need. As in a grant proposal, you should request a specific amount of funding or explain what kind of support you need. When making a pitch to a corporate sponsor, focus on how you will market your relationship.

Follow up to thank sponsors for their support and build upon relationships with sponsors by keeping in touch with them, sending thank you notes and maintaining publicity of sponsors.

Send sponsors newsletters, annual reports and other publications to ensure that they have information about your organisation's accomplishments.


Always consider how you can publicise your relationship with a sponsor before approaching them.


Never spend grant or sponsor money in a way other than what you outlined in your proposal, as this may result in your funding being stopped.

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About the Author

Andrea Helaine has a Bachelor of Philosophy in theology and is currently finishing her thesis course for a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing. Helaine has been writing professionally for over 10 years and has been published in several anthologies and is currently breaking into the screenwriting market.