Quick Look at the Fundraising Field in the U.S.

PieChartWe receive many email requests asking about funding sources and how organizations can raise their much needed funds. While we have limited experience in how to fundraise in all the Asian countries, perhaps best practices in the U.S. fundraising field can be tweaked to fit the local situation.

There are basically several funding sources: the government, public and private foundations, corporations, and individuals and families. Besides these traditional sources, there are also the fee for service or business income generating line item that many nonprofits are entering into. Healthy non-profits should have a diverse funding base and have the ability to sustain themselves.

According to the Giving USA 2011 report, individuals account for 73% of contributions ($211.77 billion). Foundations gave $41 billion or 14%, corporations gave$15.29 billion or 5%, and bequests came in at 8% or $22.83 billion.

Cultivating individual donors and appealing to their interests is very important for many nonprofits since they will be your main funding source. By building relationships with individuals that believe in your work and your organization’s mission, you will have a greater return. Research has shown that individuals are consistent donors who give more over time – including naming of the organization in their wills (bequests).

Individual meetings, invitations to visit your programs, asking those you know to share your work with friends, newsletters, personalized communications, and special events are all techniques used to engage the individual donor. Engaging volunteers can also be worthwhile since they will also make financial contributions (or have friends that they can ask for support). What works for one organization may not work for another so you will have to go through many trials and errors before you find what works.

Grantspace has some great resources on funding sources and funding research. The individual donor section contains many how-to resources too!

Graph from Giving USA 2011 Report

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