The Complete Guide to Nonprofit Startup Funding

by | Dec 15, 2020

We have created a complete guide to nonprofit startup funding. The guide is for both those looking for seed money to start a nonprofit and existing organizations that need additional funding. The topic is overwhelming to many,  but considering the best nonprofit startup funding strategies is important.

Your dream can become a reality.

Funding is a key step for any charity, but this does not happen overnight. This blog will help you learn how to raise funds for your nonprofit so you can help your organization grow.

4 Types of Funding 

We’ve covered four broad types of initial funding (or for existing nonprofits)

1. Start With Your Community for Nonprofit Startup Funding

What do nonprofits do? Nonprofits serve their communities. If you are looking for funding options, start in your community. Work colleagues, friends, and neighbors might see the potential benefits your startup could bring. Don’t be afraid to post calls for help on your social media, too!

Businesses or Community Leaders

Established businesses have cash to spare if they believe your idea can bring something positive to society and be profitable. Also, community leaders tend to be well-connected. They could assist you in reaching out to other people who will likely be interested.

You can present your startup to these leaders and ask them to become board members. This way, they can represent more active stakeholders in your organization. This action will also increase your access to individual donations. Residents are likely to trust these leaders, so they might donate more.

Other Organizations

You can also contact other organizations who provide similar services, or who would be interested in the benefit your startup will bring. For example, churches are likely to find interest in funding food relief centers or homeless shelters. Food providers might also potentially willing to donate some of their own stock to supply your nonprofit. It never hurts to ask.

Friends and Family

You may find it awkward to approach your loved ones for money. But, reaching out to them will give you a good starting ground. They are more likely to understand how passionate you are about the organization. They might be willing to share a stake in the success of your creation. Even if they don’t, they will be more open to sharing your initiative with their circle of friends, thus expanding your reach.

2. Access Grants for Nonprofit Startup Funding

As a nonprofit, you cannot finance your startup in a traditional way. You don’t get to sell items and use the additional money to uphold your organization, so accessing nonprofit grants is a great way for your startup to flourish. However, nonprofit startup grants are a possible option.

What exactly are nonprofit grants, and what do they do?

Nonprofit startup funding is important for your charity.

Well, when it comes to grants, the earlier you receive them, the better. Instead of waiting until you’ve officially started your organization to begin applying, make sure you have a plan. Start reaching out before your organization becomes fully operational because this will prevent future instability. It will also enable the eventual success of your nonprofit.

Here are two prominent types of grants:

Government Grants

There are many government grants out there. This fact will benefit you because there’s no end to the applications you can send out to finance your startup. That being said, make sure to go through the different grants and see which ones will suit your organization the most. To have a better understanding of available grants, you can look through

There are differences between federal grants and state grants. So, make sure to research the ones that are applicable in your area. Keep in mind that there are requirements to meet and contracts to negotiate. You should expect some initial hurdles!

Foundation Grants

Private foundations also provide nonprofit startup grant funds. It may be difficult to know where to begin, but focus on your state and start researching the available private grants in the area.

You may also need to approach the foundation and give them details about what you plan to do with your nonprofit. This will include your projected budget and the specifics of your business plan. If all seems to be suitable, they’ll happily finance your organization.

Note: Business grants are a possible fundraising strategy. Many for-profit businesses create corporate programs, grant options, or scholarships, available to nonprofit organizations. A different type of corporate funding, if you will.

3. Individual Donations for Nonprofit Startup Funding

Did you know that several nonprofits exist by relying on individual contributions from the public? For example, individual donations are the major driving force for the World Wildlife Fund.

To access public donations, set up fundraisers or auctions. Don’t be afraid to get creative. That’s what will draw people in. Fundraising is also a great way to tell people what your nonprofit is all about. This could improve the chances of more donations or public support. Events like bake sales to full-on carnivals, in a post-COVID world, would be useful.

4. Offering Memberships

Providing membership options is a suitable method to earn a fixed amount regularly. People who sign up will contribute to your nonprofit on a recurring basis. You won’t have to worry about finances drying up.

Offering memberships do not apply to all forms of startups. If you have an idea about what to provide to your members- for example, exclusive access to events or information — then this may be a viable funding option.

Tips for Finding Funding Sources

There are several ways to show your organization is ready for funds, improving your chances to bring in more (and do more for your cause).

  • Compile relevant programs: Doing the research work of gathering all relevant programs (nonprofit grant programs, for example) helps determine the possibilities.
  • Clearly convey your nonprofit projects: Whether it’s through memberships, individual donations, grants, or other funding methods those giving will want to know about your track record and how the fund will be used.
  • Show transparency: Keeping accurate track of how dollars and donations are utilized gives people a sense of trust. Accurate financial record-keeping also mitigates issues with governance. Working with a qualified team, experienced in nonprofits, helps immensely.

Nonprofit Startup Funding Can Be Easy

It may seem scary at first. But, you have many options to access nonprofit startup funding. From grants to memberships, you will benefit from researching. You will also benefit if you try out as many options as possible.

Why should you believe in your dreams? If you are compelled to start a nonprofit, use this as your selling point. Helping your community is a great mission to guide your organization. There will always be others who see the potential in your charitable acts.

For more nonprofit help and outsourced bookkeeping assistance, check out our services. This is also a very popular topic in a Modern Nonprofit Facebook Group, which you can join TODAY.


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  1. Ofhsoupkitchen

    Absolutely! Starting a nonprofit organization is by no means an easy ordeal. Just like with anything that’s worthwhile, starting a nonprofit requires critical thinking, commitment, patience, and a lot of hard work. Thank you very much for sharing.

    • The Charity CFO

      Thank you for reading! Like starting a nonprofit, charity bookkeeping and accounting are two important ingredients to ensure the longevity of an organization. If you are seeking an expert CPA for your nonprofit, we encourage you to reach out!



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