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Forum nameOkay Activist Archives
Topic subjectFunding
Topic URLhttp://board.okayplayer.com/okp.php?az=show_topic&forum=22&topic_id=30112&mesg_id=30116
30116, Funding
Posted by Nettrice, Sun Apr-24-05 10:28 AM
Fundraising is a fact of life for nonprofits who seldom see income from their member-base, esp. grassroots. Recently, I've been at two really successful annual benefits for nonprofits in New York City and Boston. One was about literacy and the other serves food to the down and out through restaurant contributions. Here are a few ways nonprofits can generate $$$:

Annual benefits/events
Membership dues
Individual giving

Annual benefits are “watershed” events that provide the dollars critical to the org's mission. These events are usually much more than fundraising. It is a celebration the org's efforts to serve it's constituents. They give your supporters the opportunity to get together.

Membership dues are common but the trick is how much to charge members. Usually this is done on a sliding scale.

Conferences can sometimes generate dollars but it depends on whether or not you can get space and other resources in-kind.

Individual giving is becoming more common. Usually drives occur right before major holidays or tax time when people can get a tax write off for their contributions. Sometimes orgs ask for funds in connection with an event such as a walk-a-thon.

Auctions are good. Last month, I saw a nonprofit raise close to two thirds their annual budget in one night. The silent auction was tied into the annual benefit.

I put grants last because although they can bring in more money at one time they are usually marked for a specifc program or project. Seldom can orgs use grants for general operating expenses...unless it's in connection with a specific program or project. Some nonprofits get into trouble when they put too much focus on getting grants and not diversifying their funding sources. They have loads of grants for projects and none for general operating. The other challenge is not chasing after money for a specific purpose that does not align with the org's purpose. Orgs should stay focused on their missions.

Finally, it's good to have a funding strategy or plan that is tied into development, marketing, outreach, etc. Orgs should build a donor base/database and timeline for moving forward with a plan.