How to Get Donations for Your Non-profit Charity or Financial Sponsors for Your Business

If you started your own non-profit it’s probably because you felt both passion and compassion for a particular deficit in the world of humanity. Whether it be developing after-school programs for high-risk kids, animal shelters, safe houses for abused women, or a better life for destitute orphans, YOU know your cause is worthy and special. You are committed to making a stable organization, largely funded by sponsors. Here’s some strategies I’ve learned after running a non-profit for the past few years

Recently my organization One Heart Bulgaria received an unexpected $15,000 donation from a man who donated $12,000 the year before. Getting the initial $12,000 donation was a feat in and of itself and I thank God for giving us this blessing. So how did it happen? First, the individual who donated wanted a lot of information about my organization. Typically the kind of information they are looking for is: past, current, and projected budgets, statistics, past and current projects, successes, proof of non-profit status, proof of where their money will go, proof that there is an actual need for your organization and so on. Packaging this information in a high-quality marketing folder or packet with brochures, charts, pictures, information sheets, and your business card is essential. Your chances for success will be heightened if the packet is delivered by someone you know who also personally knows the proposed donor. This way you don’t have to make a cold call and build a personal relationship of trust in a matter of a few minutes on the phone, which is pretty hard to do.

So now that you have your donation, how do you “make sure” the donor will donate again the following year? First of all, there is no guarantee, but there ARE a few things you can do to make a follow-up donation more likely.

1. Send a thank you letter. Everyone likes to be appreciated. Appreciate your donor’s gift and thank them formally. In your letter, you can even tell them what you plan to put their donation towards if they haven’t specifically requested something already. You may also want to send a small gift as a token of appreciation. However, the gift should not be expensive, just thoughtful, or else the donor will wonder where you got the money from to “waste” on gifts. Also, give appreciation and thanks to God. Show Him you are grateful for allowing this gift.

2. Keep in touch. Show the donor all the good that came from their donation. As you use the funding to support your non-profit or business efforts, let your donor know all the exciting details. In other words, prove to them that their money was spent wisely and allocated towards very important changes. Don’t tell them all the discouraging details or of your doubts about whether or not the project or your efforts will work, just tell them all the good things that ARE working. In our case, I made sure newsletters with wonderful information and pictures of the orphans themselves were sent to the donor regularly. This helps the donor feel like they truly are a part of creating change and progression. It builds their trust and confidence in you and your organization or business as well.

3. Put their name on it. Is there something you can put your large donor’s name on like the “gratitude corner” on your website or the “recognition section” in your newsletter? What about creating a special fund or scholarship in their name, i.e. “The J. R. Smith Scholarship for Autistic Children”. In my case, I am looking for someone who wants to donate a large enough amount to have their name on an actual building or “Opportunity Home” for the orphans. For instance, “The Johnson Opportunity Home”. On a larger scale, I would like to build a hospital in Bulgaria with the donor’s name on it. On a smaller scale a computer room or library room at one of the teenage orphanages could bear the donor’s name. You get the idea. Donors may also wish to honor a deceased loved one by putting their name on something.

4. Show a continual need for financial support. In the case of non-profits, your donor may continue to give to your cause if they have proof of a continual and worthy need for support. For businesses, your supports may be willing to help you expand and branch out if you can prove your success to them.

When it comes down to it, if you KNOW your cause or business is important and if you KNOW the timing is right, you need to really go for your dream with all your heart! It’s okay and natural to experience disappointments, set-backs, change of plans and goals, but don’t get discouraged. Keep trying until you succeed. Someone will respond!

The writer of this article was Deborah Gardner, Co-Founder and Executive Director of One Heart Bulgaria, a 501 c(3) charity that benefits orphans founded in 2003. Deborah has been a mentor and Fairy Godmother for Startup Princess specializing in non-profits for one year.

NOTE: Comments are now closed for this post because not all of the comments were related to the intent of the article, please take ideas from the article and apply to your own non-profits…this was not meant to be a place for asking for funding/grants/charity support.

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24 Responses to “How to Get Donations for Your Non-profit Charity or Financial Sponsors for Your Business”

  1. marzee dyer on July 31st, 2008 4:43 pm

    Great article. My husband and I have been kicking around an idea for a charity for years now – and we’ve just gotten to the point where we can see it as a strong contender for all future attentions. Knowing these kinds of things – (how to gain & keep donors/donations) – will be of great help. I’m emailing him the link. Thanks so much! Keep up the great work – “Wonder of wonder, miracle of miracle!”

  2. Kathy Junk on July 31st, 2008 9:53 pm

    This was an excellent article. I work for an international adoption agency and we are in constant need of direction on how to fund-raise. I am going to share this with my director and other staff members. Your article was easy to read and extremely helpful. Thank you so much.

  3. hgb on August 1st, 2008 6:26 am

    Great article! This is such good information. You’ve done a wonderful job.

  4. Jillo on August 1st, 2008 7:05 pm

    This is just the information I needed. I hope this will work for my organization in the future!

  5. Deborah, One Heart Bulgaria on August 2nd, 2008 9:56 am

    Thank you for all of your comments. I’m glad the article was helpful and I hope each of you will soon get the support and donations you need. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help!

  6. VICTOR on September 30th, 2008 5:40 am

    I have started my own non profit organization aiming to build a secondary school which will take orphans for free.I am looking for donors to help me financially

  7. Deborah, One Heart Bulgaria on October 2nd, 2008 2:05 pm

    Victor, what exactly is your plan of action, concept, goals, etc.? Where do you want to do this? What is the name of your organization? What kind of donors are you trying to target?

  8. fatima on October 6th, 2008 6:32 am

    How do i get financial donation to my non profit?

  9. NGOBI SYLIVIA on October 6th, 2008 11:04 pm

    AM AN ADMINISTRATOR OF A YOUNG CHURCH I HAVE THE ZEAL TO SERVE GOD AND HIS PEOPLE BUT MY FINANCES ARE LIMITED. AM LOOKING FOR SOME ONE WHO CAN STAND WITH ME. THANH YOU.

  10. Victor Lujabuka on October 8th, 2008 1:45 am

    We have started our NGO registration no.00NGO/00002325 dealing with
    HIV AIDS orphans,widows and youth development.We are paying the school
    fees for the orphans and now we have 400 kids,we are not financially
    fit to pay for their school fees so we are looking for sponsor,or
    investors to build a school in our plot so that they can study at our
    own school and while we are on the process of building a school also
    we need donors to pay their school fees.

    Our mission:Is to protect and further the social economic development
    of orphans,widow,youth and old aged.To fight,educate and provide
    counselling services to the endemic HIV/AIDS scourge in Tanzania.Also
    to promote and maintain such rural community development activities in
    Tanzania such as roads,water supply,health services,educations and
    agriculture.

    The aim is to provide employent to youth and help AIDS orphans in
    Tanzania.weare commited to build the physical,spiritual and
    educational foundations of the children of Tanzania especially in
    Kagera and Makete areas whose parents have died of AIDS by engaging
    remaining family memmbers the greater communities of Kagera and Makete
    and interested stakeholders in assisting these children in realizing
    their full potential.The first thing we need is to build a school but we do not have money to enable us do that,this is a reason why we are looking for sponsors and donors.

  11. Victor Lujabuka on October 8th, 2008 1:54 am

    Dear Deborah,

    The name of my organization is St.Peters Development Foundation.It is aiming to help orphans,widows,youth and old aged.We are a group of youth,united together to help people who needs assistance.But the only problem facing us is that we do not have money to start our project we are planing to start.

    In future we want St.Peters development Foundation to help people to fight against poverty.

  12. Deborah, One Heart Bulgaria on October 9th, 2008 4:19 pm

    To those of you asking about how you can get donations, there is no easy answer. It is a matter of constantly seeking help and asking individuals, businesses/corporations and civic groups to help you. You can do this through setting up information booths, handing out fliers, writing/emailing letters, making phone calls, sending out quarterly newsletters, advertizing on your website, submitting magazine articles, making public radio announcements, or TV. I’ve tried all these methods (except I haven’t been on TV yet) 100′s of times (literally). It takes a lot of work and time, searching, contacting and neverending persistence.

    Most likely, you will have to begin your organization with YOUR funds and a few good-hearted family members, friends, or a great uncle (twice removed) out there somewhere. That is how we started One Heart Bulgaria. Little by little, it grows. As your organization grows and as you prove that it is truly making the difference you said it would, your support network of donors will grow. Then it is a matter of following up…like this article suggests. Best of luck!

  13. Deborah, One Heart Bulgaria on October 9th, 2008 4:22 pm

    …forgot to mention that in the meantime, you should be holding fundraisers. Charity dinners, selling a product, massive community garage sales, fun runs, etc.

  14. Lwitiko Fweta on October 10th, 2008 4:42 am

    I am willing to open up a home for orphans but I don’t have the money to build a shelter for the kids to stay in .There are so many orphans in my village.I come from the Northern part of Malawi-Chitipa district i.e. The number of orphans has increased due to HIV/AIDS.I have painting skills and some qualifications in Electrical servicing i am willing to impart to the kids who have no opportunity to further their education.
    Almost 90% of the people in my village live below poverty line.

  15. Deborah, One Heart Bulgaria on October 14th, 2008 1:04 pm

    Victor and Lwitiko, it sounds like you might have similar goals–to help African AIDS orphans. Perhaps the two of you could network and combine forces. Do you have a website? It is really important to create a website.

  16. Theresa Aragon on November 11th, 2008 11:04 pm

    I am not sure if anyone can give me advice. My husband and I have in the past two year adopted three children out of foster care in our county. Statistics prove that a very large amount of these children age out of the system and become homeless. Well we have an idea. If you could start a non profit that helped mentor and provide for these young adults where the system falls short. The Non Profit could buys homes and businesses, to provide housing and jobs and teach these foster youth how to take care of them selves after the county is no longer responsible for there care. By purchasing profitable businesses the non profit could be funded by the profits from the businesses. There by not making donations the only source of funding. The whole goal would be to teach financial responsibility and for the organization to become financially self sufficient. Does anyone think this would work?

  17. Lukhanyo Langa on November 17th, 2008 2:50 am

    I am the CEO of a performing arts organization called Khwela Community Based Organization.The main purpose of our organization is to develop the potential skills of youth in arts and culture.Our secondary goal is to fight crime and poverty around our communities.We would appreciate any type of support as we struggle with transportation,music.staionery and dress code.We really thank you for your support in this instance.We look forward to hearing from you soon.

  18. Jada Fields on November 25th, 2008 5:14 pm

    I have a non-profit organization Reform Education Development, R.E.D. which will be providing help to incarcerated inmates on getting a college education so they will have more opportunity in society when released.

    I’m currently looking for help on office equipment such as computer, printer, desks and chairs as well.

    Please contact me if there is any computers being donated or equipment.
    fields.jada@yahoo.com

  19. startupprincess on November 29th, 2008 10:47 am

    Hello kind readers,
    Thank you for finding our post and commenting. It appears that some of you have missed the intent of this post– and I wanted to clarify that this post is about how to find your own donations by working with sponsors, fund raising and more…we’re not in a position to donate items or money to you. Deborah wrote a lot of great points, I hope you can benefit from her excellent advice as you read the content of the article. Best wishes!

    Kelly, Startup Princess Founder

    Theresa-your idea is a good one, Deborah’s One Heart Bulgaria has done something similar. A sponsor bought a bakery and there’s young adult orphans who run it, the aim is to help them gain life-skills and create a self-sustained place for them to live/work. Deborah might be able to answer more questions on this subject.

  20. evangelist on December 6th, 2008 8:06 am

    please your friend you told me to contact motherwthoutborders but i have write them with out geting any reply so help me . i want to open orphanage here in ghana

    evangelists last blog post…franco joined womens aid foundation and evangelization. Leave a Comment for .

  21. stephen njilithia on December 14th, 2008 3:33 am

    Dear freind, i have a passion of helping the unprivileged youths.However i am the founder of youth wealth creation and counseling programme whose aim is to address the underlying causes of poverty among the youths and supporting the health sector.I have much that i can do to save the world but i am unable due to limitation of finance,so am looking for someone who can stand with me to server the Gods people.
    God bless you.

  22. Rayappa .K on December 24th, 2008 3:20 am

    As I am mr.Rayappa from India
    and I am doing Social Servic projects in Andhrapradesh at Jaggipet
    therefore I kindly request that is any one who can donate for the projects.
    1. Home for the aged.
    2.orhphanage.
    3.School for the Childrens

    as these are the projects which we are doing Or focuse on
    please if you kinldy help to me that would more than well and good.

    with love & prayers
    Rayappa.K.
    cell: 9008360308.

  23. shelia wright on January 4th, 2009 8:20 pm

    I am a member of the Westside community church located at 1937 west adams in chicago illinios south of the united center. we have a very large church with very few members .our church needs alot of work done . we need help restoring this church so we can better serve the community. we need windows to keep the heat in the house of god,we could use your help please.donations of your reonvating skills, plumming,painting flooring carpentry,or any cash donations will help. take a ride by the church and see for yourself. we could really use your help please.my pastors name is carl e. Guyton.right now were having service in the rear of the church on sunday because of the heating problems.all or any donations will be accepted .come by maybe you can give us ideas on what to do

  24. rev sister joy on January 31st, 2009 11:42 am

    hi brothers and sisters i am rev sister joy from Cameroon my orphanage needs help from the world we are running sort of finances and we need help from you please help this children God will bless you with more

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