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3 Income Streams to Diversify Your Nonprofit's Revenue

Posted Jun 07, 2024 03:46 PM
Major events, such as galas and auctions, bring in vital revenue for your nonprofit. However, in between these major fundraisers, you should look to diversify your organization’s revenue streams. By doing so, you can earn more revenue, remain afloat in the event a fundraiser falls through, and give supporters more ways to engage.

To help your nonprofit diversify its income, this article explores three fundraising ideas almost any nonprofit can tap into with the right strategy.

1. Matching Gifts

Corporate matching gifts are donations businesses make when their employees give to nonprofits. For example, if an employee gives $50 to your nonprofit and they apply for a matching gift, their employer will donate an additional $50. This means your nonprofit can double some of the donations it receives at no additional cost to your supporters.

To access this extra revenue, your nonprofit can:

  • Invest in matching gift software. Many supporters are unaware of matching gifts, let alone if they are eligible. Your nonprofit can help solve this by embedding a matching gift program search tool into your online donation page. With this tool, supporters can look up their employers and discover their eligibility as they're making a donation. 360MatchPro’s matching gifts guide provides this example of what a matching gift search tool on a donation page looks like:

  • Promote matching gifts. The more you educate donors about matching gifts, the more likely they are to apply for them. Promote matching gifts by featuring information about them in your newsletter, adding details about the matching gift process to your website, and sending follow-up emails to donors reminding them to check their matching gift eligibility.
  • Arrange business partnerships. Corporate matching gifts don’t require your nonprofit to contact donors’ employers (with the exception of some employers reaching out for confirmation). However, to earn even more matching gifts, your nonprofit can advocate for its existing sponsors and business partners to consider implementing matching gift programs or even just matching donations to your organization.

Additionally, volunteer grants are a similar corporate revenue stream to matching gifts. Getting Attention’s volunteer grant guide defines the term as “a type of corporate giving program in which employers provide monetary grants to organizations where their employees volunteer on a regular basis. These programs are also known as Dollars for Doers, Dollar for Hour, matching time, and Grants for Time programs.”

Essentially, rather than matching employees’ monetary donations, corporations instead donate based on volunteer hours. Have your volunteer coordinators talk with your volunteers about volunteer grants and help them research their eligibility.

2. Grants

Grants are core to many nonprofits’ fundraising strategies since securing them provides critical funding for major projects and programs. To expand your strategy or start a new grants program, your organization can:

  • Explore free grant tools. Some grant research tools can be expensive. Look for free or low-cost grant research platforms like, which hosts government grants and is a good first step for nonprofits new to grants.
  • Work with grant writers. Grant writing is a specific subset of writing that requires training and research. Work with grant writers or take workshops on grant writing to learn the essentials, such as how to format a grant proposal, connect your mission to the grantmaker’s, and come off as a professional and trustworthy organization.
  • Practices project management skills. Successfully applying for grants often comes down to organization. Nonprofits that have the project management skills to set deadlines and stick to them are more likely to complete and submit grant proposals correctly and on time, increasing their chances of receiving grant funding.

Additionally, remember that networking with grantmakers is part of the grant-seeking process. Before applying for a grant, reach out to grantmakers to briefly introduce yourself, discuss your interest in the grantmaker’s mission, and invite future contact. Scheduling phone calls, attending grant Q&As, and setting up coffee meetings may seem like a waste of time at first glance, but in truth, these are some of the most important things you can do to access and win more grant opportunities.

3. Planned Giving

Planned giving may seem like a fundraising stream exclusive to large nonprofits, but small organizations can also earn planned gifts with the right strategies. After all, there are many types of planned giving, including:

  • Bequests
  • Retirement plans and life insurance
  • Charitable gift annuities
  • Pooled income funds
  • Retained life estates

Of these, bequests are the most common type of planned giving and where your nonprofit should start if it’s new to planned giving. Just like with major donors, most of the planned giving process revolves around creating and maintaining positive relationships with donors.

Look through your donor database to find planned giving candidates. These will typically be older donors who have demonstrated a vested interest in your nonprofit by giving in significant amounts for many years. For example, you might target donors in their 60s who have given to your nonprofit for at least five years. These donors you have potentially decades to steward and discuss planned giving with.

Particularly with small nonprofits, donors may hesitate to make planned gifts due to fearing the nonprofit may not last. Emphasize your stability and plans for the future in your planned giving conversations and how donors can support these efforts as part of their legacy.