Getting the initial funding for a nonprofit is a difficult, but not impossible, task. To get seed money for startup nonprofits you must have a plan and the willingness to put in a lot of free time and labor. You will need persistance, patience and organization to get the seed money you are seeking. A nonprofit can be started without money if the belief in the cause is deep enough.

Step 1.

Know the specific niche area you are going to serve with your organization. Know why you are starting the nonprofit be it for education, awareness, aid or promotion. This information will become important in later steps.

Step 2.

Write the business plan for the nonprofit. Get used to the fact that running a nonprofit organization is the same as running a business. This will help you understand how to raise money for your organization. Write the business plan with an eye toward having limited or no income to start with.

Step 3.

Begin raising awareness of your organization in your community and online. Seek out donations from other local organizations to help start the process of funding; both awareness and money are needed to continue the process of starting up a nonprofit. Display items connected to your cause at local libraries, businesses or public places where people can purchase items for support.

Step 4.

Sell art or crafts on commission. Find local craftspersons willing to sell their work through you for a commission of the sales. This will help raise awareness and needed seed money for your nonprofit. Set up shows at libraries, offices, fairs, consignment shops or public areas. Set up sales or auctions on websites such as Etsy, Ebay or Craigslist.

Step 5.

Set up a booth at fairs or expos. Team up with local artists who can help pay for the space. Arrange for your own show using rental space from other vendors in parks or public areas. Get approval and permits for this first.

Step 6.

Raise a minimum of $500 using the steps mentioned. Get a lawyer to donate time to help incorporate your organization. Register with the IRS as a 501(c)3 charity. This step will allow you to seek grants and larger funding from foundations and corporate sponsors.


It can take up to a year to raise the initial funding. The first three years are critical in knowing if your nonprofit will succeed.