Nonprofit Models for Guaranteed Fundraising Results

What is a fundraising MODEL? Simply, it’s where your money comes from.  It could be from one thing.  It could be a combination of things. Learn more about effective fundraising for nonprofits! Nonprofit Models for Guaranteed Fundraising Results!



If you’re trying to raise money for a nonprofit group you’ve got a LOT of options.  It can feel overwhelming. It IS overwhelming. It’s confusing.  It’s necessary.  You’ve got to raise money… and your goal is to raise a lot of it.  That income is the lifeblood for all the good work you’re trying to do.  So how do you decide what the what, the when, the how, and with whom to do it?


GivingMail is here to help you answer those questions.


Nonprofit models: Individual contributions 


As in previous years, the majority of that giving came from individuals. Specifically, individuals gave $324 billion, accounting for about 70% of all giving and representing a 2.0% increase over 2020.  When you add donations from bequests, individuals account for nearly 80% of all giving. 

Individual giving is a HUGE category that has dozens of subsets.  Individual donors can make one-time or recurring donations. They can give huge gifts or $5 gifts (which may be a huge gift to the person giving it).  They also give in a variety of ways: online and offline, through events, auctions, planned giving, and more. 

Direct mail generates more than 80% of direct marketing revenue compared to email, internet, telemarketing, endowments, and member services.  It is the single largest source of direct marketing revenue for fundraising by a wide margin.  What makes it so powerful?  You can target your audience and personalize the message.  Then you can measure and test and roll.  Direct mail also has a much longer shelf life (six to eight weeks) as a call-to-action than other channels.  In other words, direct mail is king.  


Nonprofit models: Foundations 


Giving by foundations grew to an estimated $88.55 billion… its highest-ever dollar amount.  


Nonprofit models: Corporate Sponsorships


Declined by about 6.1% to $16.88 billion in 2020.  That’s likely a result of changes in corporate pre-tax profits and GDP, both of which declined in 2020.


Nonprofit models: In-kind Donations


An in-kind donation is a non-cash gift from a corporation or individual which helps your group in its day-to-day operation or in meeting its mission mandate. Most in-kind donations fall into one of three main categories:

  • Physical goods (“tangible gift”)
  • Professional services (“intangible gift”)
  • A payment to a third-party creditor on an organization’s behalf

Examples of in-kind gifts include goods like food, clothing, medicines, furniture, office equipment, and building materials.  In-kind services include providing office space or offering administrative support or even building kennel.

These donations are also particularly powerful in times of crisis.  For example, providing donations of medical and building supplies, and manual labor to an organization after a disaster will decrease the economic burdens on both the nonprofit and the community while accelerating the recovery from the disaster.

Which is right for you?  One?  A few?  All of them?

Well, it only makes sense to diversify your portfolio.  After all, your fundraising program is an investment.  A big one.  It’s risky to put all of your money in one spot.  If you do, then your mission and the people, places, and things you impact also rely on that one spot.  If it craters, so does your group and all the good works you had planned. 

For example, as we mentioned, corporate sponsorships may come-and-go based on the company’s financial incentives to give.  And if you rely on a big annual event?  Recently a horrible storm prevented attendees from making it to one large organization’s annual gala.  Their primary source of income was lost for the year.

This is why it’s good to have an expanded fundraising portfolio.  You mitigate risk.  And you increase your chances for new streams of income, new donors, new ways of keeping and maximizing the value of current donors, and new ways to grow your impact.

Here’s a roadmap you can use to find what methods of raising money are right for you.



There’s no substitute for a strategy.  Don’t leap into anything.  And don’t recoil from anything, either.  And don’t chase the shiny object unless it’s going to pay-off big.   


What are you doing now?  Is it working?  What’s your return on your investment?  How does what you’re doing stack-up against like organizations?  See any signs fatigue in your methods?  What’s holding you back… a lack of staff?  Budget?  Knowledge . Let the data tell you how healthy your fundraising program is. 


Do your research.  What could you be doing?  What are other groups finding success with?  Is there a cheaper way to fundraise?  Maybe you’re not investing enough?  The non-profit community is a generous one. Your peers will share their successes and failures with you.  Learn.


Once you’ve paused, assessed, and learned, it’s time to review your options.  Consider how much you can realistically fundraise from each funding source.  Determine which funding options are attainable, sustainable, replicable for your group.  Get your staff on board.  Get your boss on board.  Get your board on board.


Commit to and begin the funding methods you’ve decided are best for your group. Build a budget.  And then work.  Be patient.  But be nimble.  Test.  And then expand or retract based on results.  

In conclusion, this is actually just the beginning of your fundraising journey.  We’ve scratched the surface.  But there is so much to know, so much to explore.  The best thing you can do is to get people you can trust to partner with you… to help you grow your revenue in the most cost effective was possible. 

That’s what GivingMail is; your partner.  We are your team expanded, and we are here to help.  We are a direct mail company that is powered by people—people whose drive is to help charities fundraise. We’ve been doing this for 70 years and have helped hundreds of the world’s largest charities raise millions of dollars. Now we’re here to share the knowledge with you.

Our team is thrilled to bring our expertise and fundraising methodologies to your organization. Everything you find on GivingMail is backed by decades of our own mail testing. We promise your fundraising metrics will improve once you incorporate our services into your plan. After all, our goal is for you to focus on the most important thing: making the world a better place.

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