3 Steps to Become Less Reliant on Government Funding

Fundraising
3 Steps to Become Less Reliant on Government Funding

Many nonprofit organizations have been solely dependent on government funding for so long that the idea of pursuing private sector funding can be a bit intimidating. Where do you even begin?

I recently had the opportunity to talk about effective fundraising processes at the National Coalition for Homeless Veteran’s Annual Conference in Washington D.C., and this was a common question. During my conversations with attendees, I noticed a few distinct trends that are holding these organizations back from realizing their full funding potential:

  • Stuck in the “Three G’s” – Galas, Giveaways, and Golf. While special events can be a highly effective tool for marketing and raising awareness for your organization, they simply are not the most effective tool for fundraising. (It’s a topic we’ve discussed before here and here.)
  • Government Facing – Since veterans were government employees, many organizations feel that their funding should come from the government.
  • No Coordinated Funding Efforts – Many well-meaning board members “ask for money all the time,” but without a focused and coordinated effort supported by the entire board, these funding asks will never reach their full potential.

Any of this sound familiar? These are challenges faced by a wide variety of organizations dependent on government funding, not just those serving our military and veterans. So, what steps do you need to take on the path to becoming less reliant on government funding? It’s easier than you may think.

  1. You need acknowledgment and agreement at the board level that diversified funding sources are needed. (Don’t just take our word for it. You can read additional articles about the importance of having diversified funding sources here, here, and here.)
  2. Take a hard look at your Credibility, Outcomes, and Fundraising Skills (the key ingredients of Asking RightsTM). You’ll need to begin strengthening any weak areas before you’re ready to approach private investors for funding.
  3. Have confidence in your cause! This may seem like an obvious step but many government-facing organizations don’t believe that they’ll receive the same level of private sector support as other social service organizations do.

Making the leap to new, diversified funding sources can be scary, but in the end, you will have a larger, more stable constituency of investors that will continue to invest in your outcomes.