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 sustainably. 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.

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 to achieve a steady stream of donations. This can be done, for example, by:

  • Attracting donors through SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
  • Engaging with your adience through social media.
  • Creating SEA campaigns (Search Engine Advertisments).
  • 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 be able to find the platform most suitable for your nonprofit. Several examples of such platforms are:

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

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

3. Collecting offline donations

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

We have touched on this point in the offline donation collection. This is a great way to increase your exposure and create a steady stream of donations for online and offline donation collection. This can be done by partnering with e-commerce websites, blogs, governmental organizations, or other nonprofits. There are many ways to partner up, but a few of them include:

  • 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 commonly used strategy is by 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. Typically, a government has several layers, each having the right to finance well-organized nonprofit activities.

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

6. Corporate funding

Creating a corporate fundraising campaign can be an efficient way to collect donations. In some cases, corporations can be eager to make donations to nonprofits. This can be due to philanthropic motives and/or for public relations and marketing purposes. No matter the motive, it is an excellent opportunity to create real change! We suggest finding a target audience to ensure you get the best out of your corporate fundraising campaign. What kind of corporates 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 more easily. Moreover, you can gather funds while also trying to create and maintain a long-term relationship with them.

There are many different ways corporates 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 the corporates to work for your nonprofit for free for a certain amount of time. Not only does it help alleviate some of the workload, but it is also a great chance to connect and try making them your ambassadors!
  • Financial donations. This can be in the form of 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 in turn is a great marketing strategy for them. To do this, you might have to be critical as to which corporate you want to partner up with, though it can be a great win-win for both of you!

7. Foundations

Though, in many cases, this will not be a sustainable (long-term) income for your nonprofit, it certainly can help kickstart your new project! Typically, foundations have their cause and mission while providing individuals, nonprofits, and corporations with grants that align with those values. In order to apply for a grant from a foundation, make sure your values align close enough with theirs to increase your chances. As with government funding, a detailed plan should typically be written and pitched to the foundation to apply for the grant.

8. Donor retention

One quickly 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. Moreover, 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.


Creating a steady stream of donations for your nonprofit can be a challenging task. Especially at the start, it will come down to trial and error before finding a sustainable donation stream. We have touched on some possibilities for creating a solid strategy, though of course there are numerous possibilities to achieve your goals. Most importantly, 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 feel free to reach out to us!

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