3-time TEDx speaker. $40M+ raised for nonprofits. Winner of 2 pitch contests. "Nonprofit Communicator of the Year." Published author. Entrepreneur with an Executive MBA. Previously earned CFRE (Certified Fund Raising Executive) and CMT (Certified Mindfulness Teacher). Currently completing CAP (Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy). Founder of Gregg Partners, a revenue strategy consultancy that equips nonprofits and mission-driven businesses to achieve financial stability. Current clients include the Wikimedia Foundation (Wikipedia), the Pat & Emmitt Smith Charities, and dozens of other nonprofits. Former CDO for the Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP). Previously co-founded a boutique family law firm as well as Executives in Action, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that engaged transitioning business leaders as pro bono consultants on high-impact projects benefiting charitable causes. Primary Coaching Topics - Revenue Strategies for Mission-Driven Businesses - For-Profit Subsidiaries under 501(c)(3) Nonprofits - Social Entrepreneurship - Charitable Fundraising & Philanthropy - Grantwriting - Planned Giving, Bequests, and Endowments - Major Donor Cultivation - Individual Giving - Monthly/Recurring Giving - Nonprofit Web Design & Marketing I also offer coaching on how to deliver amazing presentations, pitches, and speeches (TEDx, Ignite, etc.) I have experience in startups (for-profit and nonprofit) as well as proven results in cause marketing, digital marketing, and more. All calls get free follow-up by email.
You might be better served to pursue traditional financing mechanisms for a for-profit businesses (debt and equity). Assuming you mean tapping grants from US-based foundations, that can be a challenge even for a US-based for-profit business; however, foundations do occasionally offer PRIs (program related investments), which are essentially loans that can be converted to grants if they are not repaid.
I've spent my whole career in nonprofit management, and I cannot tell you how many offers just like yours came my way over the years. You are dealing with an overworked, underpaid, and highly distracted audience... and they are also very skeptical of anything free that promises great outcomes. We've all been burned too many times by pouring time and energy into tools that we saw as solutions ... only to realize that such tools are only effective if we have great relationships in place.
And so many of your target market's decision makers have developed a default "no" to anything like this. And the only way to get past that is to get to know them.
I currently have a fundraising consulting practice, focused on grantwriting for nonprofits. Almost every single one of my clients came as a result of a relationship that I had in place. I've closed almost no cold calls... and the ones I did were organizations that were advertising to hire a grant writer, so I knew they were in a position to hire me.
My best advice is therefore to focus on building genuine relationships with nonprofits thru which you can learn of their struggle. And then, you can pose your tool as a solution.
That ... and potentially contact the orgs that are advertising to hire staff whose duties mirror what you could provide (outreach, fundraising, etc). Position your service as an alternative to making that hire, or at least something they should consider integrating along with the new hire.
Have you considered asking them to create a video testimonial for you that you can then share on your social media sites, thereby giving them more exposure (including for their company and for themselves personally)?
One of my clients also provided very nice thank you presents to referral partners (i.e. gift cards to Nordstrom). That really kept referrals coming!
Just a recommendation for something that might be of interest to you... check out Games for Change. They bring gamification to nonprofits, including partnering with companies like yours to develop apps and games for charities.
Have you contacted existing NGOs/charities to see if you could partner with them? That is exponentially easier than setting up your own entity and raising money for your efforts.
You could potentially create a program of your own underneath an existing organization, and take charge of raising your own funding (but allow them to run it all through their books so they handle all the reporting, tax filing, etc). They would likely need to take a percentage of all gifts secured to cover their admin costs but it would likely still be far less than you would spend setting up on your own.
In terms of donors ... the best place to begin is your natural network (friends, family, and companies where they work). You would then need to track and report all of your outcomes from your work so that you can eventually qualify for a grant funding, which might also be a good path.
Lots of different questions here.
Volunteers are not considered donors in that they can't really deduct their volunteer-related expenses as donations. Nor can the entity claim them as revenue, unless the volunteers donate to the nonprofit and then the nonprofit buys their tickets.
In general, the last thing we need is yet another nonprofit. Why don't you try finding an organization with a similar mission that could partner with you to see if it works?
For example, you essentially become a self-contained department within that charity. You then recruit your own volunteers and donors, run everything through them, and… If you actually need to stand alone in the future… You can separate as an independent organization at that time.
But this way you will not need to setup all your own systems, file your own tax documents, conduct your own audit, etc
I am not a tax expert and this is not legal advice. But I believe that the only reason to secure a 501c3 (as opposed to one of the designations for a nonprofit membership group) would be to provide tax deductions to donors. If all you need is an entity that won't pay income tax (like a fraternal org), then that might be an easier way to go.
Depends on what you are trying to achieve.
I think a better question is: would you consider taking a free call once per month for a charity leader who could not otherwise afford to speak with you?
Clarity could make a huge impact on the nation's +1 million registered charities by providing such a program.
I have raised around $40MM for nonprofits and have invested 15+ years in fundraising for charitable organizations. I'm happy to share any insights that could be helpful.
I co-founded a nonprofit that had a very high-profile billionaire backing it. The net worth of the founding donor was a significant hurdle because it gave the appearance that no money was needed.
This is exactly the opposite of the for-profit sector. If this same founder were backing my for-profit company, it would attract other capital because people would see it as a great investment. In the charity space, this can be a significant hurdle.
We overcame this challenge by being very transparent In what the founders paid for and what they did not. This made donors realize that they could still make a significant impact on the organization without merely supplanting the Founder's gifts.
We also leveraged the value of being associated with such a prominent figure. That was probably something that we did not capitalize on enough, and something you should particularly focus on ... especially because you are organizing big public events.
I would especially look at developing a significant corporate giving strategy, and develop a robust sponsor package that provides them with measurable impact on their brand as well as on your organization.
Happy to talk if you have time. Either way, my best wishes to you!