4 Ways to Diversify Your Nonprofit’s Revenue Streams
Nonprofit professionals understand the importance of thinking outside the box when it comes to fundraising. While straightforward donations from individual donors are certainly a core part of many nonprofits’ fundraising strategies, nonprofit organizations can create more stable revenue streams for themselves by diversifying their fundraising sources.
There are many types of unique fundraisers that are often underutilized, but can make giving to a nonprofit easier. By offering supporters more ways to give, nonprofits can provide much needed flexibility for donors, which can be especially helpful for supporters who want to give more but may not have the capacity to do so.
To help your nonprofit get creative and leverage previously untapped revenue sources, let’s explore four innovative revenue streams that aim to make donating convenient and easy for supporters. When implementing these strategies, consider how your nonprofit can make the giving process as fast and straightforward as possible.
1. Shopping Fundraisers
Online shopping has become increasingly popular over the past few years, with reports predicting that U.S. ecommerce sales will reach $1 trillion in 2022. Given that many of your supporters likely make routine purchases online, your nonprofit can benefit from launching an online shopping fundraiser.
These fundraising programs earn revenue when supporters shop at participating retailers. After a supporter makes a purchase through your program, the retailer donates a percentage of the sales total to your organization. Your supporters won’t need to pay any extra for their purchases when participating in your shopping fundraiser, meaning they’re able to support your organization at no additional expense.
To launch a shopping fundraiser, your organization will need to take these steps:
- Research shopping fundraising programs. There are a variety of shopping fundraiser programs you can partner with. Research multiple programs to find one that has reasonable contribution rates and is partnered with a variety of retailers with which your supporters already shop.
- Promote your program. Shopping fundraisers are often referred to as passive fundraisers since they generate a reliable stream of income while your nonprofit can focus on running other fundraisers. However, they do require active promotion to find success. Let your supporters know about your program and provide them with directions for how they can start participating.
- Track results. Once your program is up and running, you can help power its success by thanking your participants and continuing to promote your program to new supporters. When monitoring your program’s progress, keep in mind that revenue from shopping fundraisers accumulates slowly and it may take some time to see significant results.
Shopping fundraisers can also run year-round, making them a reliable, supplemental income stream for your nonprofit between major campaigns. While you won’t see major bursts of increased revenue like you would for a focused donation drive, most online shopping fundraising programs are free for nonprofits to join, meaning that your nonprofit will likely receive a positive return on your investment.
2. Matching Gifts
Your supporters can give more to your nonprofit each time they donate with matching gifts. Employer matching gifts are donations your supporters’ employers contribute when their employees’ give to charitable organizations. These donations are usually 1-to-1 matches, but some businesses have programs that give at 2-to-1 or even 3-to-1 donation ratios.
You can help your supporters discover if they qualify for a matching gift by using a matching gift database. This allows them to search their employer’s name and locate any eligibility requirements and forms they will need to complete to apply for a matching gift.
Employers will require different information for their matching gift application forms, but usually, these forms will need basic information about your nonprofit and your supporter’s donation. Additionally, many matching gift forms will have submission deadlines, so be sure to help your supporters collect any information they need to complete and submit their applications in time.
3. Text Fundraisers
Submitting a donation should be a fast, convenient process. Text fundraisers make donating as easy as possible by allowing supporters to give through their phones, cutting out the potentially tedious process of navigating to your website’s donation page.
Here are the three steps a nonprofit can follow to set up a text fundraiser.
- Create a text-to-give number. Upon partnering with a text-to-give platform, nonprofits will be given a text-to-give number they can share with their supporters. Nonprofits will also need to choose a keyword for supporters to text to the number that should be simple and easy to type.
- Promote your number at strategic opportunities. Nonprofits can share their text-to-give number through a variety of channels, such as featuring it on their website, including it on direct mail requests and even promoting it through TV spots. Additionally, many nonprofits take advantage of the quick and social aspect of text fundraisers by asking supporters to make a text donation at an event where many supporters are gathered together. Seeing several people pull out their phones to give can encourage others to follow suit.
- Track results. Monitor the results of your text fundraiser to improve how to market and share your text-to-give number. While it can be difficult to know specifically what message caused someone to donate, you can use factors such as timing and past engagement history to make inferences supported by data.
Additionally, consider other ways you can incorporate texting into your outreach strategy. For example, you might run a peer-to-peer texting campaign that encourages volunteers to get in touch with their friends and family via text to persuade them to donate.
4. Volunteer Grants
Volunteers can contribute more than just their time to your organization with volunteer grants. Similar to matching gifts, volunteer grants are donations that your volunteers’ employers make, meaning they can be collected at no additional expense to your organization or your supporters.
The amount donated through a volunteer grant will depend on the employer. Some organizations require their employees to have volunteered for a minimum number of hours, while others will donate per hour, starting right when your volunteers first get to work.
Many of your volunteers may be unaware that their employer has a volunteer grant program. Help your employees discover if they are eligible for a volunteer grant and navigate any requirements for filling out their grant applications.
Additionally, there might be supporters in your nonprofit’s community who qualify for a volunteer grant but don’t volunteer with your organization. While some of these supporters may prefer to support your organization in other ways, research shows that more than 42% of supporters start volunteering as a result of an organization asking them. Take active steps to promote your volunteer and engagement opportunities to attract more volunteers and subsequently earn more volunteer grant funds.
Diversifying your revenue streams with unique fundraisers gives your community more ways to support your nonprofit while also supplying your organization with needed additional revenue. Assess what types of fundraisers will most appeal to your supporters and the fundraising programs your nonprofit can join to start raising more.
Korri Piper is sales and marketing consultant/director of vendor relationships at ShopRaise. She is a relationship director, project manager, writer and general life enthusiast.