As of now, the United States has over 1.5 million registered non profits that are operational and each of them must keep the funds flowing to keep their doors open. Most of these organizations rely on private recurring donations for their fundraisings, but some also require government grants. Then there are others who offer services, products, and memberships for a fee to become a self-sustaining organization.
Here are some of the major sources that can help sustain a nonprofit organization:
Recurring Private Donors
Recurring gifts from private, regular individuals is one of the most sustainable ways for a nonprofit to remain operational. However, before a nonprofit can accept donations from private parties, some states require them to complete a Charitable Solicitation Registration.
Many people also give charity to nonprofits to reduce taxes on their incomes. However, they won’t be willing to give to your organization unless they believe in your cause and think that your work benefits a community. So make sure your organization’s message is clear and impactful so that donors feel invested in its mission.
Nonprofits can start a monthly donation program that would ask donors for a small, automatic donation through their credit card every month so that the organization has a consistent, reliable cash flow. This technology can be installed on your website or an email newsletter and should be simple and convenient to use.
Membership fees are periodic fees, usually monthly or yearly, that your donors pay to become a member of your organization and gain access to exclusive things. This could be access to like-minded people who share the same types of interests. The best ways to get like-minded people together is to network extensively.
Your organization can also offer specialized content or information that only you have. For example, a nonprofit promoting literacy may offer exclusive education and writing workshops to its members.
If you are an organization which can come up with amazing, creative new ideas for events that sell out every time, this is something that can sustain your nonprofit, even if you do not have recurring donors. However, most nonprofits are not like that.
How much a nonprofit relies on events depends on what type of organization they are running. But a fundraising event is a good way to meet your donors face to face and encourage other people to join your mission as well. A well-planned fundraiser can raise thousands of dollars. Research says that events like fun runs are the most cost-effective and easiest type of all fundraising options and have the potential to raise much more money.
So inject lots of fun in your events.
Another way to become a self-sustaining nonprofit is to create a valuable product and service. For example, some nonprofits charge a fee for their branded t-shirts, mugs and other merchandise. Others create paid training sessions and workshops for professionals in the field who want o improve their skill sets.
Getting a successful government grant can be a Holy Grail for many nonprofits, especially new ones. However, it is not an easy job to get government grants. Many organizations hire independent writers to create appropriate grant proposals that fit within the required word count and are completed within a deadline. It takes a long time, often several months, for nonprofits to know whether their grant appeal has been accepted or rejected. If your grant proposal has been accepted, it comes with a lot of complex reporting and data tracking requirements. A nonprofit also cannot spend grant money on any projects they like but only the projects that the government has approved of.
Sustaining a nonprofit is not an easy task, and even the best-laid plans can get derailed by unexpected challenges. However, the thing to keep in mind is never to give up. Over time, you will accumulate a network of supporters that can eventually lead to success.