NPOs Funding: Think like a business, act like an NPO

So I worked on a corporate sponsorship proposal for a nonprofit organization that’s looking for resource support to enable them to achieve their organizational mission.

So when my compassionate heart (I genuinely care about people and I don’t know how to fake it) met my experience working for and in the nonprofit sector and in business development as a strategist, magic happened.

Top 3 pointers

  • The story is key

Just like in business when we ask for your reason for existence – the punchline, in the nonprofit space also or rather the make or break, is your story.

Nonprofit space is known for doing good, and everyone has a story and what will get you support is your [personal] story.

NB: I am not talking about PR stunts. There are those using nonprofit initiatives for the PR of their businesses – leveraging on the lives of distressed people to gain profits. It is inauthentic and your intended beneficiaries are also feeling the fakeness and it won’t go far because you are playing people.

  • What’s your value?

In the nonprofit space there’s donor fatigue – corporates are (tired) of giving out money without seeing real impact. Hence nowadays most private companies launch their own CSI initiatives or co-create.

Besides putting their logo on your banner and pamphlets, T-Shirts, what’s the real value you are giving them?

Besides the BBBEE score points, what sustainable value are you giving them?

Think about it.

  • Think like a business, act like an NPO

Being a nonprofit doesn’t exempt you from developing strategies to get your organization to the next level.

Like a business, you must have:

  1. a branding strategy to help your organization stands out from the crowded nonprofit market with limited resources.
  2. a marketing strategy to communicate your value proposition and build a relationship with your stakeholders.
  3. sales/fundraising strategy to finance the organization.

You must have a hybrid fundraising strategy – do not just depend on donations (same foes with businesses regarding grants). What can you do internally to raise funds?

For example; if i am part of the organization, I can leverage on my talents and skills and host workshop on something and take x % of proceeds and give the organization. If you can sing why not host some show and have people pay to attend?

Also just because it’s an NPO it doesn’t mean you can’t make money (or shouldn’t) and it doesn’t mean people get things for free.

If you offer free computer lessons, a commitment fee of R50 can do something for the organization – buy some resources (more computers)

I hope that helps.


I’m community development Practitioner, researcher, organizational development specialist and business consultant.

I would like us to have a meeting to discuss NGOs and profit making projects ,SMMEs development and trainings.
How to expand and sustain themselves.

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