Nonprofit Fundraising in a Shaky Economy

Nonprofit Fundraising in a Shaky Economy


Nonprofit fundraising is a hot topic in this shaky economy. With economic uncertainty looming, what has your organization been doing to raise funds to advance its cause? I hope your organization isn’t relying solely on government money.


Federal budget cuts and the future of nonprofit funding

Take a look at what happened recently in Minnesota. Their state government was shut down for over two weeks. Finally a tentative deal was reached between Democratic governor Mark Dayton and the Republican-controlled state legislature.

Take it step a further. Those of you keeping a close eye on Capitol Hill know about the political fisticuffs regarding cutting back federal spending and raising the debt ceiling. The debt ceiling got raised, but obviously that is not the end of our troubles.

What impact does all this political activity have on the nonprofit sector? How has cutting state and federal budgets affected nonprofit fundraising?

Nonprofit fundraising nightmare

Just to give you an example, the Western Resource Conservation and Development in Utah had their federal funding taken away due to federal budget cuts, turning them into a head without a body. Another nonprofit, Learning Ally, is in the same situation because the Department of Education slashed grant funding to nonprofit organizations they once funded. Learning Ally once provided a free At-Home membership for helping students with reading and other learning difficulties. They now have to charge for annual membership.

For organizations that once relied heavily on government grants to fulfill their dream of helping thousands, if not millions, of people, the dream is becoming a  nonprofit fundraising nightmare.

Social entrepreneurship and money for nonprofits

If your organization is one of those losing a substantial portion of your nonprofit fundraising potential, you have the opportunity to get out of this bad dream by engaging in what built America and made her great — entrepreneurship. In the realm of nonprofit fundraising, I call it social entrepreneurship.

What does social entrepreneurship mean?

Entrepreneurship isn’t limited to for-profit industries.

Learning how to raise money for a charity and fully fund your nonprofit organization has its seed in the spirit of entrepreneurship. Networking and meeting people who share your vision. Getting out and doing what some people only dream about doing.

You have a great idea for a nonprofit organization. Whether it’s providing eyewear for people in India, teaching English as a second language in northern Thailand, or feeding the hungry in your own neighborhood, it takes more than having a good idea. Your organization needs funding. Nonprofit fundraising means getting out of your comfort zone and taking action: Ask for donations.

Some people feel awkward about asking for donations for a nonprofit fundraising campaign. That’s natural. But how else are you going to raise the money to feed the hungry, teach people how to read, or help find a cure for cancer? When you receive a “no” from a potential donor, it’s easy to become discouraged. But take heart – that “no” is a step closer to a “yes.” With each “yes” the flywheel of making a difference in this world begins to turn with more speed.

“Fundamentals of Fundraising” instructional video

If you’re still uneasy about whether you can plan and launch a successful nonprofit fundraising campaign, see my free training video “Fundamentals of Fundraising to help you get started – and back to making the dream happen.

If you enjoyed this article, give it a “Like” and pass it on! And share your comments about your experiences – good or bad – with nonprofit fundraising.

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