Funding from the Inside

By Sandy Nagel

When nonprofits think of funding they usually think of:

  • Researching new grant opportunities
  • Securing new donors
  • Advancing current donors to the “next level”
  • Holding a fundraiser
  • Another “mailing”

But sometimes, funding can be right in your own backyard.

Here are some ways to look internally in your organization for funding:

    • Check your grant log.  Did you submit a grant proposal over a year ago and received a letter to resubmit at a later date? Or maybe the foundation that didn’t fund your organization now has a new board member(s) or a new or different area of interest. Now’s the time to reconsider submitting that proposal.
    • Staff: Find out where your staff’s immediate family members work (or are retired from). Those companies may have a foundation, donate in-kind items or services, provide corporate sponsorships, or have an employee matching program.
    • Volunteers: Empower them to ask for funding. Provide them with the information about your organization and the guidance they need in order to solicit funds/donations whether from their employer, family/friends or the community-at-large.
    • Your Board: Part of your board’s responsibilities is to help raise funds for your nonprofit. Have your board members introduce your organization to their business colleagues and friends.
    • Venders: Ask if your vendors have funding opportunities – grants, corporate sponsorships, or in-kind donations.


Utilize p2p fundraising. Peer-to-peer fundraising is a method of fundraising that leverages your supporters to fundraise on your behalf. It’s also known as social fundraising, personal and/or team fundraising, or p2p fundraising. Peer-to-peer fundraising is a great way to get new donors and reach new networks of people. This is something your staff, volunteers and board members can do BUT you have to do it right. The majority of the time, this personal appeal is a much easier “sell” as the potential donor would prefer to give to a credible source (or friend) versus an organization they don’t have a relationship with. Here’s how to get started:

  • Type of Campaign: Choose what type of campaign you want to host. Think about your organization’s goals. Use different campaigns for different goals –
    • Time-based: campaign for a set period of time and usually paired with a big event at the end (such as a capital campaign)
    • Rolling: no set time frame, can have as long as it needs to meet its monetary goals. If you use this type of campaign, make sure you keep up the momentum.
    • Giving Days: Set a goal $$ to meet within a 24 hour period.  Remember Giving Tuesday is right around the corner. This is a PERFECT type of campaign to utilize social media.
  • Recruit supporters: You want to enlist loyal supporters, your board, staff and volunteers. Then look at folks who support your cause, are willing to  give and spread the word.
  • Provide resources:  Give your supporters the resources and information they need to solicit funds for your organization.
    • In- person coaching
    • Email/social media/acknowledgement templates
    • Online training/support
    • Check in with your supporters during the campaign

It’s still YOUR organization’s fundraiser even though you are not directly asking for support.

  • Tell your story! Put a face to your organization. Have your supporters educate and inform their network of friends and family about your organization and tell them WHY they should support your cause.  Use GOOD QUALITY photos (they speak a 1000 words).

When it comes time to raise funds, remember start inward and work outward.

Written by Sandy Nagel, the NonProfit Guru. If you have any questions about your nonprofit’s development, volunteer or strategic planning needs, please email me at  Sandy Nagel, NonProfit Guru, Consultant and Grant Writer with Awakened Innovations

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