Ways to support nonprofits. Fundraising, finding funds for financing a not-for-profit organization or website

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Fundraising suggestions and finding money needed for support and financing of nonprofit organizations / websites

Some of the links pertain to U.S. nonprofits, but most of the comments below apply worldwide
You have a good idea and do not know how to start a nonprofit site, or have a site and do not know all of the options available to obtain funding and contributions. Creating a site these days is relatively easy. The difficult part is getting people to see your idea and to have them contribute to the cause. This is an attempt to suggest some ways by looking at the different mechanisms for fundraising, and the ways in which others have tackled this problem. There are also suggestions here as to directions to look for obtaining support of your organization through grants, corporate backing, or developing ways of funding other than charity giving. There are a number of approaches, but whatever you propose to do, it must not detract or be viewed as distracting or cheapening the message or service you are providing as a nonprofit/not-for-profit organization. Regardless of the type of nonprofit you are (see different types of U.S. nonprofits), the following may be helpful. The panel on the left under 'Important Notice' details the limitations of this information. Where organizations or sites are mentioned, these are examples only and do not represent the full range of organizations, sites, information, or possibilities available.

Specific Ways To Raise Funds
  • Journal
    • Start a pay-for-subscription journal. It can be produced totally in house or you can announce on the web that you are willing to pay for relevant articles in the journal. While this cuts into your income from the journal, it will definitely give you broader coverage, which may lead to greater interest in the site itself.

  • Store
    • Start an online store using the store creation facilities of many of the current large websites such as yahoo, godaddy, homestead, wordpress using chronopay or set it up yourself and use one of the online/mobile phone money transfer organizations to support functions like cart and payment procedures.

      Transfer of money can be done online by mobile or by SMS US Mobile Payments Players - Comparisons Gives comparison between Paypal, TextPayMe, Obopay

      Electronic money and online payment systems: To check out any of these system, the first place to start is Wikipedia using the phrase 'paypal wikipedia' as an example, on major search engines.
    • How to Choose an E-commerce Solution (or Shopping Cart) Gives good idea of what to look for in deciding on an eCommerce solution (shopping cart) for your site. Also has reviews on some of the better known shopping cart facilities available. Must know which one in which you are interested and do an inside search. Also provides a short list of groups which will handle credit cards without merchant accounts Does not rate them or provide individual commentary.

      One word of advice. If your current internet provider has a shopping cart, be sure to go online and search for it by name using the words 'review' or 'comment' or 'discussion'. Your host may be great on normal website handling but no so hot on shopping carts and you should know this before making the decision. If you want to do it in a major way, it might be prudent to even switch hosts.
    • Or, offer a few items of particular relevance to the site without initializing an online store. In this case, the money transfer companies could come in particularly helpful.

      Might check out this guide From Online Stores to Online Relationships which is put out by Convio.

  • Corporate Giving
    • Develop a Corporate Giving Program, Foundation or Fund Covers the following topics: Benefits of Corporate Philanthropy, Corporate Giving Options, Keys to Successful Corporate Giving, Corporate Giving Examples, Corporate Volunteering
    • Find a merchandiser in which you believe and has a product related to the site or to the main users of your site. Ask them to donate part of the profit from each sale which is made through your site. A case in point is DO Something .org and the Eco-Bag. Also, see their list of sponsors on home page

  • Peer based and social network fundraising

  • Organizations which help raise funds for your project
    • Artez.com Some of clients: Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation - CIBC Run for the Cure, UN Foundation - Nothing But Nets, Comic Relief - Sport Relief Miles, Children’s Miracle Network - Wal-Mart Walk for Miracles, Easter Seals Society - The Drop Zone, Gulu Walk - action for children in Uganda, Kids Help Phone - Bell Walk for Kids Help Phone, National Ovarian Cancer Association - Walk of Hope

  • Multi-Charity Organizations Acting as E-donation Portals Each country has its own nonprofit and charity giving and distribution structure. We list several here as an example only of those organizations which accept donations for nonprofits listed by them, and in most instances transmit the funds directly to the charities.
    • Network for Good For nonprofits - Easy and Affordable Online Fundraising. Giving and volunteering. "Network for Good is one of a number of websites bringing together donors, volunteers and charities online to accomplish good. Users can donate to more than one million charities and search from among more than 36,000 volunteer opportunities. Donors can then select a charity to support and they can add or deduct the 4.75% tax-deductible processing fee from their donation. Founded in 2001 by America Online, Cisco Systems and Yahoo!, Network for Good is an independent 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization..." source
    • CanadaHelps Online e-donations portal for giving to listed charities throughout Canada. http://www.britishcharities.com/services.php?PHPSESSID=07ab0fd6fc86718882db3915e3378e99">British Charities "The UK's definitive guide to charities"
    • Donations.com.au Australia "Funds that you donate are deposited direct into the bank account of the selected organisation, and all transactions are secure and completely traceable from you to your selected organisation."
    • ourcommunity.com.au Australian Giving Centre

  • Site Redesign
    • Do a redesign of your site to make it more appealing and to get your message across in a way which will make donating straightforward and easy for those wishing to help your cause. Check out a number of other nonprofits and if some of them almost have you deciding that you might support their cause, then you know they have the right formula (or they are the only ones who share your interests).
    • Optimize your site for the search engines. Using the right words, with the right placement on your site will make it easier from people to find you. If someone wants to donate to a cause such as yours, puts in keywords to search on Google, Yahoo, etc. describing exactly what you do, and do not find your site, than you are not optimized. This takes some expertise to do SEO (Search Engine Optimization) well. Many will take your money for listing you on 100s of search engines, or do automatic submission, or optimize according to a formula and not according to what you or your site are about. As good place to start in your search for EO is Handsumbit.com Search Engine Optimization and Hand Submission. There are also a number of very good books on SEO. You will save hundreds and perhaps thousands if you leaf through one or two before making your decision.
    • Free Website Design Services for Nonprofits Grassroots.org The Internet for Charity. "Grassroots.org offers free website design services for nonprofits by matching interested organizations with professional website design volunteers". Check out the Gallery of Volunteer Designed Sites. Includes the following free services. Nonprofit Toolbox, Website Design, Hosting, Domain Names, SEO Consulting, Phone Service, Web Builder, Language Translation. As of end of 2008, over 850 active members in the U.S. and Canada. Must be a registered nonprofit to take advantage of services and toolbox.

  • Accepting Donations, Credit Cards, Sending Email Invoices, Order by Phone/Fax/Mail

  • Get Listed
    • List your organization on the multi-charities groups in your country. Examples: Network for Good (U.S.), CanadaHelps, Donations.com.au, "ourcommunity.com.au, British Charities among others, and on the different nonprofit search tools like Foundation Center, and Guide Star. Make yourself known but do it wisely. There are also a number of country and regional groups which list nonprofits on their sites which they consider beneficial to the work they are doing. Contact them and ask to be included giving good and sufficient reason for their interest in promoting your cause.

  • Sponsorships/Partners
    • Have a Sponsorship drive which will provide different services or status for members based on level of commitment (involvement in organization or in terms of level of support).
    • Search for sponsors. Even a sponsor with a very small amount of backing can be significant if it is known and helps draw people to your site.

      Be sure to list your sponsors in a prominent place. If you are going to give the name(s) of your major sponsors, do it on the home page or have a link from the home page to the list.

  • Fundraising Tips From Other Nonprofits
    • Fundraising in the credit crunch From justgiving. "Over the years, we’ve gathered together a list of the best hints and tips from fundraisers. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world or what site you’re using, these fundraising tips should work across the board."
    • Fundraising Tips by Profit :Quests Fundraising. Contains: List of fundraising tips, Fundraising Products, Fundraising Ideas, Fundraising Software Products, Fundraising Articles, and Fundraising Resources.
    • Canadian Centres For Teaching Peace - Fund Raising Tips
    • Network for Good Links to services to help in raising funds including: "Donor Management Suite (Raise money and track your results in one place starting at $99 per month), Custom DonateNow (Design giving pages to look like your web site and send personalized gift receipts to your donors), Basic DonateNow (A simple solution for accepting online donations with no monthly costs), EmailNow (Reach out to your supporters through email newsletters and online fundraising appeals)."
    • Fundraising Tips and Tools from About.com: Nonprofit Charitable Orgs. Very useful with more than 60 links by categories.

  • Get Advice
      There is free and low cost advice out there which may be of great help to you.
    • One of the organizations dealing with free advice is score.org "SCORE "Counselors to America's Small Business" is a nonprofit association dedicated to educating entrepreneurs and the formation, growth and success of small business nationwide. SCORE is a resource partner with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)." "Provides: Mentoring advice 24/7 Ask SCORE online, In Person Mentoring 389 offices. Find an office, Low-cost workshops nationwide. Find an office, "How to" articles and business templates, Online workshops and learning."
    • Nonprofit Marketing Guide.com Webinar Series "Our online training events are created especially for do-it-yourself nonprofit marketers and communications departments of just one or two people. All of our tips and advice are grounded in real-world experience and are perfect for small and medium-sized nonprofit organizations with limited marketing and communications resources." Also check out their On Demand e-Courses For learning on your schedule and not theirs. An article about Nonprofit Marketing Guide.com
    • Six online courses including the above link by Joanne's Nonprofits Blog

  • Apply for Grants From Government, Business, Nonprofits
    • Grants for Nonprofits by subject area from Michigan State University Libraries. The Aged, Animal Welfare, Arts & Cultural Activities, Business, Children & Youth, Community Development, Computer Technology, Databases, Disabled, Disaster Relief (Local & World), Education, Energy/Heating Assistance, Environment, Farm/Rural Development, Foreign or International Affairs, Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, & Trangendered, Government Funding, Health, Historic Preservation, Homeless/Housing, Humanities, Hunger, Law & Criminal Justice,, Libraries, Minorities, Miscellaneous, Museums, Public Safety, Recreation, Religion & Social Change, Sciences Social, Sciences, Social Services, Women, Women In International Development
    • Foundation Center Foundation Directory Online (U.S. and International). "...a nonprofit organization with over 50 years of experience connecting grantseekers and grantmakers, FDO is the nation’s premier grantseeking database." Se FAQs for a rundown on basic information about the service.
    • grantsearch Australia. Funding at your fingertips. "grantsearch is Australia's original and most comprehensive funding database, detailing $8billion distributed to 18,000 recipients every year. Over 3,000 entries identify sources of financial support."
    • Guide Star GuideStar's mission is to revolutionize philanthropy and nonprofit practice by providing information that advances transparency, enables users to make better decisions, and encourages charitable giving. Organizations in the database: 1.7 million, Nonprofits voluntarily providing information beyond their IRS listings: 127,000, Visits to www.guidestar.org annually: 10.8 million
    • Nonprofits Assistance Fund Help and Support for Nonprofits - "...provides expertise and individualized assistance to nonprofits who seek to strengthen financial management skills and practices." Also provides loans - "Whatever your organizational vision – whether you are expanding your programs, buying much-needed equipment, or stabilizing cash flow – we can provide flexible financing to help you achieve your goals. Through our loans and lines of credit, financing of $5,000 to $450,000 is available to meet your immediate and long-term needs."
    • USA.gov for Nonprofits Grants, Loans, and Other Assistance, Management and Operations, Tax Information
    • Find Grant Opportunities Complete resource for available U.S. Government grants.
    • Grantseeking Basics for Nonprofit Organizations provided by the Foundation Center Give Online training and tutorial on grantseeking and resources for finding grants.

  • Memberships
    • Offer membership and have a low or suggested monthly/annual membership contribution. Be sure to offer something of value in return for membership regardless of ability to pay. One group, Lone Parent Families has a very good way of saying this. "Membership is run on a 'Pay What You Can' basis. We recommend that members pay £2 a month (or £24 annually) as this is how much it costs to run the scheme per member. It is only by members paying for the existing scheme and donating more that we can continue to run and expand our services for members. Even if you cannot afford to give £2 a month, any contribution however big or small is really appreciated to ensure we can continue providing services and benefits to members."

  • Publications
    • Publish specialized booklets or pamphlets on specific subjects which are related but not part of your online presence. This can be done very cheaply through Publish On Demand Publishers, or sell on line using a service such as Paypal as processor of a shopping cart.

      A book which may be helpful to you: The Fine Print of Self-Publishing $19.97 at Amazon and many other book sellers. I have not read it so you are on your own here, but it has been favorable reviewed by Grumpyoldbookman and one reviewer on epinions. Plus Publishing Basics talks about the book and some of the recommendation and not recommended companies.

  • Simply ask for support for site and what it is attempting to do
    • Put an invitation to help support your site and its development. This will probably not bring in much needed support but may be of some help to keep you going.

  • Fund Raising, Service Provider, Workshops and Conferences
    • Have a fund raising drive with set goals to increase the value of the site, provide content in areas not currently covered, expand the reach of the site into other languages, provide targeted content in areas of high interest. If you do not want to handle it yourself, there are groups out there willing to run it for you (for a percentage - hopefully low - you are a nonprofit site).

    • Workshops, Conferences, Seminars
      Provide targeted information for workshops, conferences, seminars which will increase the value of those activities.

  • Invite Advertisers
    • Announce that you are accepting heavily vetted advertisers for your site. Be very careful who you accept as it will reflect on the quality of your site and the importance of the message or work which you are doing.

  • Charity Blogs

Other information
  • Key phrases to search with in major search engines
    • 'Nonprofit resources' + name of country or state scribe-ga(source)
    • 'nonprofit fundraising online courses'
    • 'money for nonprofit'
  • Directories and Guides
    • The Nonprofit Matrix An online directory and guide to Application Service Providers (ASPs) and portals offering web-based services for nonprofits and charities. Affinity Portals, All-in-One, Charity Auction, Charity Shopping, Donor Management, Email Broadcast, Event Management, Giving Portals, Marketing Promotion, Online Communities, Online Donations, Planned Giving, Social Networking, Website hosting
    • List of 27 types of nonprofits under U.S. code

  • How To Set Up A Nonprofit
    Sites which can provide information on starting a nonprofit (aimed at U.S. nonprofits but much information can be valuable worldwide)

  • Management / Technical Assistance / Support / Courses
    • Center for Nonprofit Management Information, business skill training on strategic planning, fund development, board of director development. Provides sample forms and policies. Monthly newsletters. Has trained over 4000 professionals. On site courses, and custom training at a location of the client agency's choice.
    • The Center For Nonprofits Technical Assistance/Support Resources for Non-Profits gives a wide range of helpful links to information and help for nonprofits. See in particular First Stop Web Resources for Non-Profits
    • The Fund Raising School The Center on Philanthropy. "Increasing the Understanding of Philanthropy and Improving Its Practice". Courses in different parts of the country throughout the year. "The Only School of Its Kind The Fund Raising School helps thousands of fundraising professionals per year around the world achieve new levels of success. At the School, we teach the historical and philanthropic context, the current issues, and the art and science of fundraising and philanthropy. You gain the knowledge needed to build your organization’s resources with confidence and success in an ever-changing society. The Fund Raising School is the only international fundraising education program housed within a university. We combine cutting-edge practice with scientific research in developing our curriculum."
    • Conferences through the fundraising organization Artez

  • Blogging

  • Articles / Journals / Books / Newslatters

  • General Resources
    • Nonprofit Fundraising Web Resources Michigan State University Libraries. The Funding Center - Over 90,000 funders give out over $50 billion in grants every year to non-profit institutions. The Funding Center contains all the tools you need to identify these funders, including private foundations, corporate foundations, community foundations, corporations, government agencies, associations, and individuals. One of the best sources I have run across covering most aspects of fundraising for the not for profit community.

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