How to get donations for nonprofits – an overview

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Getting donations for your nonprofit can be a challenging task. Much like a regular business, one needs to create a solid strategy for collecting donations. Finding the right plan for your nonprofit can depend on many factors, and most likely, the best approach will be seen by trial and error. 

Even when you have found the perfect plan for a while, it might change in the future depending on the environment and the circumstances. Hence, understanding the different ways of collecting donations is essential for making well-thought-out and fast decisions when needed. 

We have summed up several ways to get donations for your nonprofit.

Challenges & Opportunities


Fundraising today has both challenges and opportunities. Strategic planning is important for success. There are many challenges in fundraising these days. Donor demands are increasing. They expect transparency, understanding, and an emotional connection to the cause.  The increase in online giving platforms has made it more competitive for organizations to attract donor dollars.  Economic uncertainty and more competition can make fundraising harder. With strategic planning, nonprofits can address these challenges directly. Organizations can connect with potential supporters on a deeper level by creating tailored messages and using data to improve campaigns.


However, there are exciting opportunities within these challenges. With technology, we can expand our reach and engage donors in exciting ways. Social media platforms help people connect, online fundraising tools make donating easier, and data analytics give us insights into donor behavior.  

These tools become more effective for nonprofits through strategic planning. Organizations can maximize the power of technology to connect with donors and secure funding by finding the right online platforms, customizing communication strategies, and analyzing campaign data.

Key factors to get donations for nonprofits

Successful fundraising thrives on building a strong and engaged community around your cause. When you involve the community in your mission, you do more than raise money – you cultivate a sense of ownership and shared purpose. Community members become invested in your success, transforming them from passive donors into active participants.

This can take many forms, from volunteering their time and skills to spreading awareness through their networks. Collaborating with other local organizations that have compatible missions creates a beneficial situation. You can leverage each other’s networks and resources, allowing you to reach a wider audience and amplify the collective impact. 

When you create a strong community connection, your fundraising model becomes more sustainable. Your mission inspires others to support and take responsibility for achieving your goals. Working together can help you raise more funds and have a positive influence on the community.

How to get donations for nonprofits

1. Through your website

While this might be an obvious option to many, it might also be one of the most challenging ones. Creating a robust, fast website optimized for conversions and attracting donations can be difficult. After building a great website, finding the right audience and attracting them to your website is the second step one needs to consider achieving a steady stream of donations. This can be done, for example, by:

  • Attracting donors through SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
  • Engaging with your audience through social media.
  • Creating SEA campaigns (Search Engine Advertisements).
  • Creating (online) exposure through partnerships with other websites, bloggers, businesses, governmental organizations or nonprofits.
  • Create online profiles of your website on standard informational websites about nonprofits.

2. Creating a fundraising campaign

A more short-term oriented yet effective way for collecting donations for your nonprofit is by creating a fundraising campaign. There are plenty of fundraising platforms available online. 

Most of which have their unique features. Depending on their features, pricing, and general audience, you might find the platform most suitable for your nonprofit. Several examples of such platforms are:

  • Donorbox: fundraising software with extensive fundraising solutions.
  • GoFundMe: crowdfunding platform used for individual campaigns.
  • Bonfire: create a fundraising campaign based on merchandise.
  • Give Lively: free fundraising platform with extensive and practical fundraising tools.

Please reach out to us if you know of a suitable fundraising platform we can add to our list.

3. Collecting offline donations

The modern fundraising landscape demands more than reaching out to potential donors. True success hinges on fostering a strong and vibrant community around your cause. Moving beyond simple transactions, community engagement cultivates a sense of ownership and shared purpose.  

When community members become invested in your mission, they transform from passive donors into active participants.

Another great way to collect donations is through the traditional offline donation collection. There are many ways to collect offline donations, though we have summed up a few of them here:

  • Neighborhood collections of money or physical goods by visiting homes.
  • Creating a nonprofit pop-up shop.
  • Collecting donations at festivals, conferences, and events.
  • Partnering up with physical shops to put a collection box at the counter or the entrance/exit of the shop.

4. Creating unique donation partnerships

Nonprofits can diversify their fundraising by creating special partnerships with local businesses or organizations. By partnering with others, the nonprofit can engage the community, attract donors, and advance its mission. 

Local businesses can help nonprofits by providing resources and reaching more potential donors.

By partnering with businesses, nonprofits can access new fundraising avenues and connect with new audiences. An environmental nonprofit and a local cafe could join forces for a fundraising event. The cafe would donate a portion of their support for the cause. 

Partnering with schools, clubs, or community groups can open doors to new donors and enhance the success of fundraising endeavors.

We’ve already covered this point when collecting offline donations. This is a great way to get more visibility and generate consistent donations for both online and offline collections. To accomplish this, you can collaborate with e-commerce websites, blogs, governments, or other nonprofits. There are several ways to form partnerships, such as:

  • Asking for donations at the check-out of e-commerce stores.
  • Creating an awareness campaign together with an authoritative organization.
  • Creating and managing a project together with another organization.

5. Government funding

Another strategy used is requesting government funding. It depends on the country in which your nonprofit is based or active in defining the right approach to attract government funding. A government has several layers, each having the right to finance well-organized nonprofit activities.

A thorough funding plan usually needs to be set up to request this type of funding. While it is a robust way of fundraising, it creates a dependency on one stakeholder, the government. One downside of this could be that you might not work on all your nonprofit goals without having to compromise on certain things.

Depending too much on government sources can limit the freedom and adaptability of organizations. Government expectations or limitations may limit what activities or agendas nonprofits can pursue. Political priorities and budget constraints can affect government funding, making long-term sustainability unsure.

To lower risks, nonprofits should get funding from various sources like individual donations, corporate partnerships, and grants from foundations. Nonprofits can protect their independence and achieve their goals by finding a balance between government support and other sources of income.

6. Corporate funding

Creating a corporate fundraising campaign can be an efficient way to collect donations. Sometimes, corporations can be eager to make donations to nonprofits. This can be because of philanthropic motives and/or for public relations and marketing purposes. No matter the motive, it is an excellent opportunity to create actual change! 

Finding a target audience ensures the best outcome of your corporate fundraising campaign. What corporations do you want to target, and why? What is in it for them, and how can you strengthen each other? 

This allows you to find and connect with your ideal corporate donors. You can gather funds while also trying to create and maintain a long-term relationship with them.

There are many ways corporations can donate to your nonprofit. We have summed up a few of them here:

  • In-kind donations from corporations.
  • Donations of human capital by allowing corporations to work for your nonprofit for free for a certain amount of time. Not only does it help ease some of the workload, but it is also a splendid chance to connect and try making them your ambassadors!
  • Financial donations. This can be as a direct funding, or for example with gift matching. With gift matching, a corporate will give an X amount for each amount that is being raised during a certain public fundraising campaign. 

This will allow the corporation to gain extra exposure and goodwill from the public, which is a brilliant marketing strategy for them. To do this, you may need to choose the company with which you want to collaborate, but it can be beneficial for both parties.

7. Foundations

Building strong relationships with foundations that support similar causes is crucial for successful nonprofit fundraising. 

A crucial step in this process is finding foundations that have funded similar initiatives in the past. To understand a foundation’s focus, funding, and grants, it’s important to do thorough research and due diligence.

While it might not be a reliable source of income for your nonprofit in the long term, it can be a great way to kick-start your new project! 

Foundations support individuals, nonprofits, and corporations by giving them grants that align with their values. When applying for a grant, it’s important to have values that align with the foundations to improve your chances. Just like with government funding, you need to create a detailed plan and present it to the foundation to apply for the grant.

8. Donor retention

One overseen aspect of a successful donor strategy is creating healthy and long-term relationships with donors. After the first donation, try making your donor an ambassador for your nonprofit organization. 

After all, word of mouth is a powerful way to grow and gain exposure for your organization. Recurring donations are an excellent way to create financial stability for your organization. We have already done some research about one great free donor management software for nonprofits.

Using technology can make donor management and fundraising easier and more efficient. By using donor management software designed for nonprofits, you can streamline fundraising, engage donors more effectively, and maintain strong donor relationships.

Practical Tips to Boost Your Nonprofit’s Donations

Using storytelling to get donations for nonprofit

One of the most potent tools in a nonprofit’s arsenal is storytelling. By weaving narratives that highlight the tangible human impact of donations, organizations can connect with their audience and inspire continued giving. 

These stories should portray how each contribution translates into meaningful change, whether it’s providing shelter to a homeless family, funding life-saving medical treatment, or empowering individuals through education and skill-building programs. 

Through authentic and interesting storytelling, nonprofits can communicate the significance of their work, fostering empathy and solidarity among donors and supporters.

Promoting Your Fundraising Efforts

In the digital age, it’s important to promote fundraising initiatives well to reach more people and make a bigger impact. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram offer nonprofits many ways to raise awareness and funds for their cause. 

Interesting content, like captivating visuals, impactful videos, and inspiring testimonials, can engage audiences and inspire them to take action.

Email marketing can send targeted messages to donors and supporters, keeping them updated on fundraising progress, sharing success stories, and inviting them to upcoming events or donation drives. 

Nonprofits can raise more funds and create positive change by using storytelling and different marketing channels.


In short, developing a sustainable fundraising model is a multifaceted effort that causes attention to different components to achieve lasting success and make a difference. 

This outline covers important strategies and tactics for successful fundraising and organizational growth. Nonprofits can convey their mission and inspire support by focusing on defining the cause and communicating an interesting message. 

Consistently getting donations for your nonprofit is tough. At first, you’ll need to try different methods to find a sustainable way to receive donations. We have touched on some possibilities for creating a solid strategy, though of course there are many possibilities to achieve your goals. Don’t give up and try to enjoy the process! If you would like to have a quick brainstorm about your strategy for collecting donations, please reach out to us!

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