How Can I Get the Donations I Need for My Non-Profit Organization?

Nonprofit organizations provide a public or social benefit. Created to fulfill a specific purpose, such as providing meals to the local homeless or representing the interests of people who perform the same profession, they are not operated as private profit-making enterprises. Any revenue that may arise from their operations go back into the organization and not into private hands. Nonprofits are often financed through various fundraising sources, such as public and private grants as well as individual and corporate donations.

Prepare to Seek Donations

Determine specific costs of lease payments, remodeling, items needed and wages. Prepare a budget. Set a goal for the fundraising effort.

Articulate written answers to essential questions regarding the nonprofit’s purpose. What is the nonprofit’s mission? What good does the nonprofit do or what kind of impact does it have? If the nonprofit is new, why should anyone donate? If the nonprofit is already established, why should anyone donate right now?

Articulate written answers to financial questions. How much money does the nonprofit seek to raise right now? How will the donations it receives be used? How will the organization be accountable?

Prepare a brochure that lists the answers to these questions. Provide background information on the nonprofit, its community, staff and goals for its future. Keep copies at your facility's front desk.

Secure Donations from Corporations and Foundations

Identify corporations, or their associated charitable foundations, that are aligned in some way to the nonprofit’s mission. For example, a nonprofit that provides free meals to seniors might first look into companies that sell food, healthcare and senior products.

Identify what perks you can offer a corporation that decides to donate. Perks, however, are to be a goodwill gesture for the corporation’s philanthropy and not a fair market exchange. Can you put their name and logo on your website’s donors page? Can you mention their generosity at a conference you are speaking at?

Develop a personalized written proposal for each potential corporate donor identified. Include information about the nonprofit’s mission and to-date successes as well as what you would be pleased to receive from the corporation and what you are prepared to offer the corporation in return.

Send the proposals to the corporations and then follow up by phone.

Secure Donations from Private Donors

Create a hook, theme or focal point for your fundraising campaign directed to the general public, such as Mother’s Day for a battered women’s shelter or Pablo Picasso’s birthday for an arts nonprofit.

Have a mini-site created on your nonprofit’s website detailing the fundraising campaign: What is the campaign about? Who will the funds benefit? Why should someone give? How much money does the nonprofit need to reach its goals? Set up a way for people to be able to donate online or over the phone.

Write a press release detailing the campaign and send it to local reporters and media.

Spread word of the fundraising campaign through different social media channels. Encourage everyone on staff at the nonprofit to spread the word as well with their contacts. Create free campaign badges that the public can put on their websites and blogs.