Basic Types of Fundraising Methods and Strategies

Published March 15, 2020
Fundraising ideas

Fundraising is key to the success of any nonprofit organization. There are many ways to raise money to support charitable efforts, but there is also a lot of competition for donor dollars. Choosing the right methods and strategies is an important key to effectively raising money.

Grant Writing

Grants are a major source of funding for nonprofit organizations. Securing grant funding involves identifying opportunities through grant giving foundations and other organization, then writing and submitting effective grant proposals. There are many types of grants, including programs for rural nonprofits, the arts, educational initiatives, environmental protection, and much more. Review examples of successful grant proposals to help you get started.

Product Sales

Many organizations require on product sale fundraisers to raise money. This method involves identifying products that can be sold at a profit, with the proceeds going to the organization. Selected items are sold by members, volunteers, or the organization itself. Ideas include food items like baked goods or doughnuts, coupon books, stadium seats, holiday decor like Christmas tree ornaments or wreaths, apparel, and many other options available through fundraising companies.

Corporate Partnerships

Establishing corporate partnerships can be a major source of fundraising for nonprofit organizations. With so many organizations emphasizing social responsibility, you may find that companies are willing to sponsor or underwrite your organization's programs or events, especially if your group's efforts align with the company's mission or values. Corporate partnerships also often include matching gift arrangements, with the company matching any dollars donated by their employees with an equivalent donation. Corporations that partner with nonprofits also sometimes lend their employees or executives to nonprofits to help raise money or serve as volunteers.

Special Events

Special events can be a major source of funds for nonprofit organizations. The events themselves bring in money, and can also attract the attention of individuals who many donate additional funds or volunteer their time and talents to the organization. There are many kinds of special events, including galas, cook-offs, sporting events, charity auctions, and more. There are many ideas for special event fundraising. It's important to choose an event that will attract attendees and follow best practices for marketing a charity event.

Website/App Donation Page

Every nonprofit should have a donation page on their website and mobile app that provides an easy way for prospective donors to contribute online. When people visit your website or app, chances are that they have an interest in your organization and the cause(s) that it supports. Having a "click to donate" link on each page that goes directly to a page where people can contribute makes it easy for website visitors to chip in while your organization is on their mind. Of course, your website and app should also have information about your organization's services and mission and information on how to get involved as a volunteer.

website donation app

Direct Solicitation

Sometimes the best way to raise money is just to ask for donations. Door-to-door fundraising can be effective in some situations, as can phone solicitation. In-person visits can also be beneficial, especially with individuals who have the potential to make sizable contributions. It's also a good idea to collect contact information from donors, volunteers, and special event attendees so you can follow up with email marketing requests for donations and fundraising letters.


If you're looking for a way to raise money fast, using a crowdfunding platform can be a good option. This option allows you to put out a call for donations that can quickly and easily attract donors who may be able to make gifts of all sizes. This option has viral potential and can be used to raise money for a certain project or to quickly bring in money for an unforeseen need that requires a quick response, such as bringing in contributions to help people affected by a sudden tragedy or unexpected repairs to the facility where your organization provides services to the community. There are a number of crowdfunding platforms, as well as text-to-donate services.

Capital Campaigns

If you're looking to raise money to fund a large project that needs to be funded outside of your ordinary operating budget, such as constructing a new building or purchasing land, a capital campaign may be the way to go. This type of fundraising effort typically starts by seeking major gifts from your largest and most loyal individual and corporate supporters, but also includes efforts to bring in smaller amounts from other donors. Capital campaign letters and brick fundraisers are often used to request donations. Some nonprofits engage consulting companies that specialize in capital campaigns to assist.

Setting the Stage for Fundraising Success

These foundational fundraising methods and strategies can become the backbone of your nonprofit organization's financial success. With so many nonprofit groups competing for donor dollars, though, it's important to keep up with current trends in charitable giving and to expand your efforts beyond the basics. Once you've mastered the basics, consider expanding through endowments, charitable annuity donations, and other creative fundraising ideas.

Basic Types of Fundraising Methods and Strategies