Nonprofits must get funding to continue providing services or support to their constituents. Donations form the bulk of funding to most nonprofits, 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 secure funding.
Seek donors with interests similar to what your organization provides. Donors may be former recipients of your services, relatives or friends of someone benefiting from your organization or strangers looking to support your work. Make a list of people you think would donate. Rent mailing lists from a major list broker to help you send mass mailings and emails seeking donations for your nonprofit organization.
Telephone, write, email or otherwise contact possible donors. Write a letter or email and have it printed or ready to send asking for donations. Steer people to your website in order to find out more information about your services, share testimonials and provide an easy, secure online way to donate. Send personal thank you notes to everyone who makes a donation, even if it's just a few lines in a card. A small gift is also appreciated by many.
Join a nonprofit association for directors of nonprofit groups. These associations have frequent events where members network and share tips on how to find funding. They may also provide access to lists of grants.
Obtain grants through corporate or private foundations that match your missions and goals. Find grants through online sources or print directories available at local libraries or bookstores.
Apply for grant funds. Visit each grant organization's website and read through the requirements carefully. Prepare financial documents, background documents and your grant application carefully, making sure it is submitted by the deadline. Take your time and write your proposal carefully, succinctly and thoroughly. Your proposal is like a sales letter. You are 'selling' the grant organization on why it should invest in your nonprofit.
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 email. 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 organizations require quarterly and yearly reports and paperwork to be completed detailing how their money has been used.
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.