A few days ago I read a post about a small nonprofit community organization looking for advice on how to get funding. Starting a nonprofit is difficult, and figuring out where to find the money to run it can be challenging. New charities rarely have the ability to prove that they have the place with everyone to become a sustainable organization rather than simply being a night fly.
If you have a nonprofit organization that is new, you know you have a lot of research to do.
Finding money is not impossible. You must be ready to turn every stone and see every opportunity. Before you begin, one of the best things you can do for your organization is to enlist a group of experienced experts and advisors associated with your nonprofit organization. This will be particularly helpful with corporate and foundation grant applications because it will demonstrate that you have the mental confidence to help your organization become an essential part of your community. Doing intensive research is another critical element in making sure your nonprofit becomes a sustainable and vital part of the conversation about your cause.
If your nonprofit is very new and still in formation (for example, you don’t have an IRS 501 (c) (3)) and you’re looking to start fundraising, one thing you might want to consider is finding a tax sponsor. Partnering with a fiscal sponsor will allow you to apply for and obtain funding for your nonprofit organization, even as you work to obtain the necessary documents to make it fully operational. When you work with a fiscal sponsor, funds will be accepted using the fiscal sponsor who will charge you a small administrative fee and provide you with the money you need for your operation.
- Corporate donation start-up programs
Corporate financing is an excellent place to look for start-up funds, especially since companies are familiar with investing in research and development. Double the Donation has an excellent resource for corporations that help fund nonprofits and charities.
- Federal programs
The federal government provides grants to community organizations and can provide substantial funding, although the process can be lengthy and cumbersome. To find federal grants that can help you, visit Grants.gov.
Another excellent tool for research is GrantWatch. GrantWatch is a great site for finding federal, state, and corporate grant opportunities that may be meaningful, based on your mission and grant criteria.
- Sparkplug Foundation
The Sparkplug Foundation is a family foundation that helps start groups involved in music, community organizing, and education. The grants that the organization provides are generally those that are significant enough to make a nonprofit organization sustainable.
- Non-profit Center for Excellence (CNE)
CNE secures three grant opportunities each week and offers its members a diverse selection of potential grants. The group also provided information to nonprofits that are new to foundation grants or looking to diversify and develop their grant program.
When you’re looking to find start-up money, many groups will recommend that you reach out to your network of friends, family, and community to raise funds. While reaching out to those who know you is the best place to start, the most important funding for your organization may come from the government and corporations. Also, remember that the Foundation Center has many opportunities for corporate and foundation grants.
One last tip is to Google “non-profit start-up grants” or a variation. Make it a point to look for start-up grants. There are more of them than you might imagine available to your organization.