Ten Nonprofit Funding Models
4. BIG BETTOR There are a few nonprofits, such as the Stanley Medical Research Institute, that rely on major grants from a few individuals or foundations to fund their operations. We call their funding model the Big Bettor. Often, the primary donor is also a founder, who wants to tackle an issue that is deeply personal to him or her. Although Big Bettors often launch with significant financial backing already secured, allowing them to grow large quickly, there are other instances when an existing organization gets the support of a major donor who decides to fund a new and important approach to solving a problem. The nonprofits we identified as Big Bettors are focused either on medical research or on environmental issues. The primary reasons that Big Bettors can attract sizable donations are: the problem being addressed can potentially be solved with a huge influx of money (for example, a vast sum can launch a research institute to cure a specific illness); or the organization is using a unique and compelling approach to solve the problem. Conservation International (CI), whose mission is to conserve the Earth’s biodiversity and to demonstrate that humans can live harmoniously with nature, is an example of a nonprofit that uses the Big Bettor funding model. CI’s ability to identify locations around the world where protecting an area of land can have a significant effect on preserving global biodiversity helps it attract donors who are willing to contribute large amounts of money so that they can have an important and lasting impact on protecting the Earth. The majority of CI’s contributions come from a few large donors. Nonprofit leaders considering the Big Bettor funding model should ask themselves the following questions:
* Can we create a tangible and lasting solution to a major problem in a foreseeable time frame?
* Can we clearly articulate how we will use large-scale funding to achieve our goals?
* Are any of the wealthiest individuals or foundations interested in our issue and approach?