How to Raise More Money for Your Nonprofit: 10 Steps to Supercharged Fundraising

Whether you’re spearheading a grassroots crowdfunding initiative, chairing a million-dollar gala, or serving on a nonprofit board, your goal is the same — help the organization raise more money. In today’s dynamic philanthropic landscape, the cornerstones of successful fundraising are:

    • Ensuring transparency in how donations are utilized.
    • Radiating genuine passion for the cause.
    • Crafting compelling narratives that resonate, evoke emotion, and inspire action.
    • Cultivating sustainable and expanding networks of support.

Here are our top tips to help nonprofits raise more money.

1. Adopt the Mindset of Venture Philanthropist

A venture philanthropist isn’t just focused on the donation but on the ripple effect it creates. They seek maximal positive change for every dollar, ensuring their contributions lead to sustainable, long-term benefits. These individuals differentiate themselves with a keen focus on tangible outcomes and often engage more deeply with the organizations they support, favoring a partnership model over a transactional one.

This isn’t just about tax breaks; it’s about a genuine quest for scalable and sustainable impact.

Some organizations that apply the venture philanthropy model throughout all initiatives include The Chicago Public Education Fund, A Better Chicago, Invest For Kids, Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation and Lefkofsky Family Foundation.


2. Know the Criteria

While venture philanthropy lacks a one-size-fits-all template, understanding the key criteria can position a nonprofit to appeal more effectively to impact-driven donors. The following rigorous evaluation criteria set by our Philanthropy Awards Academy of Judges and industry-leading rating organizations like Candid. and Charity Navigator resonates deeply with today’s donors:

1. Efficiency: How effectively does the organization allocate its funds? Much like Charity Navigator’s approach, assess what percentage of donations directly advance the mission.

2. Impact: Does the organization truly realize its mission objectives and make a tangible difference in beneficiaries’ lives?

3. Leadership: Recognizing the linchpins behind the organization is crucial. Who are the dedicated visionaries, both spearheading fundraising campaigns and ensuring stellar program delivery?

4. Scalability: In the dynamic landscape of 2023, adaptability is king. Is the organization primed for growth? Can it adeptly handle a sudden influx of funds or expanded audience engagement?

5. Excellence: Quality is paramount. Does the nonprofit consistently provide high-caliber programs, ensuring beneficiaries receive the best possible support?


3. Ignite and Communicate Your Passion

Why are you championing this cause? Dive deep and connect with the root of your motivation. Understanding and articulating your personal connection to the mission can ignite a spark that resonates with potential supporters. In a world bursting with causes and campaigns, it’s authenticity and heartfelt stories that often stand out and inspire others to join the movement.

This principle isn’t new; it’s reflected in many touching initiatives:

Your passion tells a story, and that story can be a beacon for others. When shared genuinely, it not only invites support but also reinforces the collective drive to create lasting change.


4. Use Storytelling to Bring Your Nonprofit’s Mission to Life

Storytelling is not just an art but an essential tool for nonprofits. By crafting a narrative—whether through a captivating article or an evocative video—you have the power to clearly communicate the heart of your mission to your audience.

  • Humanize Your Impact: Showcase the difference you’ve made in the lives of individuals, families, or communities. Real-life testimonies or stories can be incredibly impactful, offering a tangible depiction of the mission in action.
  • Evoke Emotion: Aim to touch the heartstrings of your audience. When they laugh, cry, ponder, or are moved to take a stand, it’s a testament to the potency of your story. An engaged audience is an audience poised to act.
  • Diversify Your Storytelling Approach: As emphasized by Professor Brady Josephson in “Nonprofits and the Story Wars,” your storytelling arsenal should be varied:
    • Supporters’ Stories: Let your donors and board members share their journey of involvement.
    • Impact Narratives: Highlight tangible changes and transformations brought about by your initiatives.
    • Transparent Tales: Authenticity builds trust. Share both victories and challenges candidly.
    • Origins and Legacies: Dive into the roots. The inception story of a nonprofit often holds a deep-seated passion and purpose.
    • Call-to-Action: Inspire with stories that end with a call to action—inviting the audience to be part of the next chapter.

5. Cultivate Virtuous Circles

In today’s interconnected world, the concept of a virtuous circle has never been more relevant. It represents an ecosystem of mutual support where each participant’s actions amplify the positive impact on others, creating an ever-widening web of shared benefits.

  • Local Amplification: When a local business supports a community fundraiser or initiative, they generate goodwill that ultimately brings more of the community into their business. The same goes for major corporations that give back to the communities where they are based. This is a winning strategy that leads to better public institutions and businesses, happier employees or parents, and stronger communities.
  • Corporate Philanthropic Engagement: Major enterprises, now more than ever, recognize the merit of giving back. By investing in local nonprofit initiatives, they not only enhance their brand’s image but also contribute to the thriving communities that house their operations and staff.
  • Global Reciprocity: This principle isn’t confined to local contexts. Multinational corporations now acknowledge that ethical practices and sustainable initiatives aren’t mere brand boosters—they’re essential. There’s a growing realization that fostering global well-being has tangible returns: healthier ecosystems, stable societies, and consequently, more sustainable profits.

6. Elevate Your Nonprofit in the Digital Era

Embracing the digital era is no longer optional for nonprofits—it’s imperative. Here are some tips for elevating your nonprofit’s digital impact:

  • Online Presence and SEO: Your nonprofit’s website should be mobile-responsive and user-friendly, complete with clear calls to action. Enhance visibility with SEO techniques, ensuring potential donors find you easily.
  • Social Media Engagement: Harness evolving platforms, from Instagram Stories to TikTok, while also utilizing tools like Facebook for donations and LinkedIn for professional networking. This integrated approach helps reach diverse audience groups.
  • Content and Collaboration: Craft emotionally resonant content like videos or infographics that deeply connect with your audience. Simultaneously, cross-promote and collaborate with partner organizations to widen your reach and amplify shared missions.

  • Action, Education, and Trends: Make it simple for supporters to take immediate actions, from donating to sharing content. Use your platform not just for fundraising but to inform and offer tangible solutions. Lastly, stay updated on digital trends to ensure your strategies remain fresh and effective.

7. Target Key Demographics: Women, Millennials and Gen Z, Local Enthusiasts, and Collaborators

Women aren’t just significant donors; they often deeply engage with the causes they support. They not only donate but also volunteer, share information, and leverage their networks.

Millennials bring a passion for purpose. They seek meaning in their actions, often prioritizing goods, services, and experiences that have positive societal impacts. Their preferences are shaping trends in business and philanthropy, evidenced by the rise in Social Impact Investing and enhanced corporate social responsibility programs.

Lastly, innovative collaborations are paving the way for greater civic and cultural engagement. Introducing star power and out-of-the-box collaborations to partnerships can not only develop new audiences but also amplify fundraising potential.

8. Facilitate Corporate Support Through Volunteering

Companies often search for ways to give back to their communities, and many have now made volunteering a part of their corporate culture. As a nonprofit, streamline your approach to integrate these willing corporate volunteers effortlessly.

  • Team Tasks: For nonprofits requiring group efforts, create slots or shifts tailored for corporate teams. Such collaborative opportunities foster team-building while making a positive impact.
  • Remote Volunteering: For tasks demanding individual attention, consider online platforms. Many corporate professionals can provide mentorship or assistance during work hours from the comfort of their desks.
  • Promote Volunteer Incentives: Many larger corporations offer paid time off and other incentives to their employees for volunteering. Ensure such companies are familiar with your cause. Approach their Corporate Social Responsibility teams, highlighting how associating with your nonprofit can be mutually beneficial.
  • Tailored Pitches: Understand the ethos of the company you’re approaching. Customize your appeal to align with their values and demonstrate how their employees’ involvement can make a tangible difference.

9. Amplify Impact through Giving Circles

Giving circles, like Chicago’s Impact 100 and the global American Red Cross Tiffany Circle, pool together individual contributions for more significant results. Rotary Clubs similarly exemplify the power of collective giving at the local level. By consolidating resources, these circles amplify the reach and impact of individual donations.

10. Make It Easy for People to Help

Streamline the giving process for potential donors and volunteers. Always conclude your messaging with a clear call to action, with easy ways to support your organization. Clearly communicate what you need, whether it’s volunteers, money or donation of physical goods. Need help getting your organization’s message out? Submit a “You Said It” and share your story and your organization’s unique needs with our readers.


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