Grow Your Program
Creative Ways to Find Savings and Funding for Nonprofits
Your nonprofit organization makes a big difference for the people and communities you serve. You want to impact as many people as you can, but your reach can only stretch as far as your budget will allow. Fortunately, there are valuable sources of funding for nonprofits if you know where to look.
Finding nonprofit funding sources takes time—an asset already in short supply for many programs. That’s why we’ve rounded up some of the best ways for nonprofits to make and save money. Many of these resources can also help introduce more people to your mission so you can grow your support network.
Sources of Funding for Nonprofits
Creating a reliable funding model is a major challenge for any nonprofit organization. You’re probably already using some of the most common sources of funding for nonprofits, but there might be more opportunities here than you realize. Here are some creative ways to leverage those resources and build stronger relationships.
Where to Find More Corporate Sponsorships
Whether it’s with a recurring sponsorship or a one-off donation, businesses can be valuable sources of funding for nonprofits. Look for national and global corporations that have formal corporate giving programs.
Most of these programs require you to fill out an application, but the time investment can pay off in a big way. Just remember to check each company’s donation eligibility requirements first. Keep in mind that most corporate programs require the requesting organization to be a registered 501(c).
How to Partner With Local Businesses
Local and regional businesses can also be valuable sources of donations and sponsorships. Although their contributions may be smaller than big corporate organizations, they bring the added value of being well-known and enmeshed in your community.
Even local businesses that can’t write you a check may be willing to offer an in-kind donation. Printers and local media organizations might help publicize your program. Service providers and shops can offer items for a raffle or auction. To start building these relationships, send staff or board members to visit the business. In-person visits from staff, volunteers, or board members can start building these relationships with local businesses.
How to Get More Grants
Because grants are in high demand, nonprofits often have to compete with one another to earn them. The funding body usually asks each program to submit an application detailing how the nonprofit is structured and run, how it brings its mission to life, and how the grant funds will be used. Although answering these questions can be time consuming, many of your answers can be repurposed across multiple grants.
If you can, work with a professional grant writer to create a bank of responses for common grant questions. Even a short-term relationship with a grant writer can help you develop materials that you can edit for use across multiple applications. Whether you’re working with a professional grant writer or not, make sure to carefully read the fine print before getting to work on an application.
Smaller or micro-grants, like CourseStorm’s SPARKed Grant Program, can be found via grant databases and online searches.
Start looking for grants by using the database of federally funded grants. Most states have webpages for state-funded grants, and your county may have its own website, too. But you don’t have to rely just on government grants. Smaller or micro-grant programs, like CourseStorm’s SPARKed Grant Program can be found by searching databases like The Grant Portal or just using your favorite search engine. To be informed of next year’s SPARKed Grant Program, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter.
How Classes Can Be a Source of Funding
Though you might not initially think of classes as a funding source, they can help generate revenue and broaden your community of supporters. Unlike soliciting donations, classes promise an experience in exchange for the donation.
Nonprofits can offer classes affordably by using the resources they already have. For example, an art museum with a new display of pottery by Black artists in 1800s America might offer a class that gives historical context, explains the pottery’s cultural significance, and lets students examine a few pieces up close.
The overhead for this kind of class is small, but it could generate plenty of revenue. It might also introduce a new group of people to your nonprofit’s mission, add some names to your mailing list, and grow your audience.
Help Funding for Nonprofits Go Further With Discounts and Savings
Most nonprofits work hard to make responsible financial decisions. After all, donations go further if administrative costs and overhead remain low. Fortunately, several for-profit companies offer special discounts for nonprofits.
Save on Tech Tools
Technical tools help your organization stay connected, communicate with donors, and manage donations. They can also be expensive! Google Workspace offers a free plan for nonprofits to use its Business suite, which includes Gmail, Google Meet, Google Drive, Google Chat, Google Calendar, Docs, Sheets, and Slides, as well as Classroom, AppSheet, Currents, and Cloud Search.
Many companies offer special discounts for nonprofits, including Google, ActiveCampaign, and Hootsuite.
And Google isn’t the only company with special deals for nonprofits. ActiveCampaign offers a 20% nonprofit discount on their email, marketing, and CRM tool. The email marketing software Campaign Monitor offers a 15% discount for nonprofits and Constant Contact offers 30% off if you prepay for a year.
For social media management, Buffer offers 50% off to registered nonprofits. Hootsuite offers up to 75% off of its social media management tools and Hootsuite academy resources. Basically, you can find discounted plans for almost any type of software. If you’re already using a software platform , ask about discounts before your next renewal.
If you’re in the market for a new software tool, check out TechSoup’s nonprofit tech marketplace. It connects nonprofits with discounted or free software via a massive database.
Get Discounted Furniture, Equipment, and Supplies
Businesses pass on used furniture and equipment for redistribution to nonprofits through CSR eco solutions. You can sign up to receive notifications when donations become available in your area. Alternatively, you can let them know what kind of donations you’re looking for, and they’ll try to connect you with a business that can help.
DreamList is another website to know about. You can create a wishlist and donation registry for your nonprofit so benefactors know they’re giving you exactly what you need. If you need specific items urgently, RightGift can help you run a campaign to raise the money.
Find the Volunteers Your Nonprofit Needs
While posting volunteer opportunities on your website and social media is one way to attract some helping hands, there’s more you can do.
Services like VolunteerMatch or the United Way can help you publicize volunteer opportunities to people in your community and beyond. You can also reach out to organizations like your local Kiwanis Club, Lions Club, or Masonic Lodge.
To find youth volunteers, reach out to local high schools or youth service organizations. Many high schools require their students to complete service hours in order to graduate. The Boy Scouts of America, the Girl Scouts of the USA, and the National 4-H Council also encourage volunteering by their members.
We hope these resources make it a little easier to balance your nonprofit budget. Creative thinking can go a long way. If education is part of your mission, or if you’re considering classes as a funding source, CourseStorm can help make registration simple. Our no-subscription model means you only pay when you register a student. That makes offering courses more affordable for your nonprofit. Start your free trial now or contact us today to get started.
Brian is a scientist-turned-education technology executive. He has founded and led technology companies for more than 20 years and uses his analytical mind and experimental approach to spur growth in small and medium businesses and start-ups. He is passionate about using technology to enhance access to lifelong learning.