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Is Your Nonprofit Ready for Outside Funders?

There is so much work involved in creating and establishing a new nonprofit. There are federal and state rules and regulations to follow as well as identifying other people who share your vision and want to invest their “time, talent, and treasure” into your new endeavor.


Some founders of new nonprofit organizations believe that grants from foundations can alleviate their immediate funding needs. This may be true down the road, when the new charity has proven it has staying power and is fulfilling its mission. While there are a few cases when a brand-new nonprofit can immediately apply and receive grant funding, this is not the norm.


Raising money for a new nonprofit is a lot like applying for a mortgage, a lot of pieces need to be in place to successfully apply for foundation funding and funding from individuals who do not know you or your mission.


Here are some things to consider as you start your fundraising journey.


Mission, vision, values, and purpose statements must be in place.

A mission statement defines the objectives of the organization, a vision statement states the aspirations of the organization. Values are beliefs on which the mission and vision are built. The purpose statement, while still brief, explains why the organization exists.


A written plan.

You could call this your business plan or an operations plan. This is a detailed description of your goals, the need, who you intend to serve, why your service is needed, and the steps to be taken to serve the organization’s mission and make an impact. A plan will also detail how you intend to track data to verify and report outcomes. While this might be a one-year plan, you can also look at creating a longer-term strategic plan. Check out my recent article on the types of nonprofit plans HERE.


Board of directors and additional base of support.

Articles of incorporation filed with the Texas attorney general require three officers: President, Secretary, and Treasurer. This is the beginning of your board of directors. Recruit those individuals who share your vision and passion for the mission. When starting a new nonprofit, the preliminary funding comes from those closest to the mission: the founder and these officers.


Be sure to recruit others with different experiences and expertise so they can help expand awareness through their networks and help identify other like-minded people. Having a solid base of individuals who fund your nonprofit is a critical step.


Founding and growing a nonprofit is not for the faint-hearted. This is a process that takes dedication, tenacity, and passion of the cause. Having a plan, and knowing why your organization needs to raise mission-critical funds, and having a solid base of individual support are important parts of a successful path to outside funding.



Michelle Crim, CFRE


Dynamic Development Strategies can help. We offer coaching, grant writing, and fundraising services for our nonprofit clients. We specialize in small to mid-size organizations because we understand your challenges. Please contact us for more information.


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