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How to Raise Money for a Nonprofit

By David H. Bangs Jr. | Entrepreneur

Annual Fund Appeals and Benefits

Memberships

Memberships provide another source of unrestricted funds. Many well-known nonprofits are purely memberships: Lions, Kiwanis, Rotary, and so on. Some religious groups are quasi-membership organizations. Some non-profits are barred from offering memberships due to the terms of their major funders, while others find that the added burden of keeping members happy is not worth the effort. However, if your nonprofit can easily provide basic membership benefits (newsletters, lowered fees for events, preferred treatment of some kind), it’s worth considering, since membership income tends to be very stable over time.

Planned Giving

Especially helpful for capital funds and endowments, planned giving is a long-term effort that begins with establishing and nurturing a relationship with the prospective giver. Methods can range from providing financial planning services (use a professional) to a group, encouraging inclusion of the nonprofit in wills, and using life insurance or greatly appreciated stock to fund a major gift (with consequent tax savings) to more sophisticated methods that are beyond the scope of all but the largest nonprofits. As always, the better you know the prospects, the greater the chances of success.