Fundraising For NonProfits: Kinds of Funds To Seek
It can be very intimidating to think about fundraising for a non-profit organization, especially if you are just starting out. But don’t get the jitters, it is not nerve wracking as it might seem. But just ready to be patient.
There are several kinds of funds you can seek; rolling funds which accept proposal all year long, and specific grants which have an application process, a deadline and are open periodically. But unless your non-profit organization is registered as 501 (c) (3) organization it won’t be possible to receive such grants almost every time. The reason is, all of your donors can deduct any donations to 501 (c) (3) organization as a charitable deduction in their tax returns. So if Open Society Institute, founded by the billionaire George Soros, is considering giving you funds they will need to know you have the 501 (c) (3) status.
Anyway, seeking funds does have somewhat generic processes. Let’s start with the most basic. Research on bigger organizations, national or international, that works or supports work in the field that your organization hopes to be active in. Almost all such donor organizations, Ford Foundation for example, have their websites and the process of contacting them is usually pretty well laid out on their websites.
Contact as many as you can because it’s not guaranteed that every one of them will respond. Not because they don’t like your idea, but because of the volume of inquiries they receive. But almost every one of them will send you a generic notice of receipt and eventually a second notice of interest or inability to support your program at that time. But if some of the organizations you have send inquires to don’t have a defined working interested or history in your non profit organization’s field, then don’t be surprised to get a notice that might say they don’t work with that subject matter yet. And never expect immediate or prompt response, but once communication is established, don’t slack either. They might take time to respond, but you should be as communicative and convincing as possible. These are the basics, but remember that persistence and evidence of being able to do the work your plan to are key elements in being able to get funds.
While even till a decade ago just having an office was enough, these days if you really want to be able to raise funds to do what you hope to, then you have to setup a website as well. It is not just a way to be more accessible about your work to the mass by having an online presence, but a website is a great location where interested people could contribute funds immediately if they are convinced about what your non profit organization’s motives. Also consider organizing big or small scale events. They usually work well too if you have planned it right.
Hopefully this article has given you some essential insight into what it takes to start seeking funds or fundraising for your non-profit organization. Just remember to be true to the cause and show it in your work.