Diversify Funding Sources for Sustainability

“It is the part of a wise man to keep himself today for tomorrow, and not venture all his eggs in one basket.” This quote from Miquel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote rings as true today as it did in 1605. 


Interpreted for the purpose of this blog, by enacting funding source diversification your nonprofit can weather supporter ebbs and flows and maintain sustainability. Following are fundraising opportunities and methods to reach small, medium and large individual donors. 

Here’s a Grassroots Fundraising example from one of ANF’s fiscally sponsored projects. They host a monthly luncheon at a neighborhood restaurant with a local community leader as the guest speaker. The event raises money from folks attending in person and virtually at a reduced rate, with tickets available through their crowdfunding campaign. Luncheon promotion can be via email, social media, tabling and the project’s website. 


Moving on to grants, funds and foundations, here’s a quick chart of who’s who and what’s what.

Following are resources and suggestions to find your fundraising match. 


  • Here’s a nationwide list of community foundations.
  • A search for fundraising foundations can lead to numerous sites to investigate, especially if the search is narrowed to your state, which may increase eligibility. 
  • Search for grants specific to your mission. For ANF projects, see Press Forward and NewsMatch
  • Check out subscription based and free grant databases. ANF projects can receive leads via GrantStation


As grant funding is considered, keep in mind these items – 


  • The amount of time projected and spent to complete the application.
  • How many hoops does the application ask you to jump through? Is the process worth the effort for the potential funding amount? 
  • Generally speaking, grants are awarded to the same organization only for a year or two, with the goal that the organization becomes self-sustaining. 
  • Funding may be restricted to a specific use and not be eligible to cover overhead, for example. Or, awards may also be unrestricted and not designated for a particular use, and thus can cover overhead.
  • When a grant is awarded, inquire if this gift can be used as a crowdfunding match with promotion and publicity that benefits your organization and the funder. Cross-promotion can be via respective email lists, social media, websites and more. 


Consider including your nonprofit in the Matching Gifts Program with a grant or contributions organization that matches employees and/or directors gifts. Check out Benevity and YourCause to learn more. ANF is a member of both organizations and projects are eligible for donations. 


In closing, diversify your nonprofit’s funding sources as you would your personal investment portfolio and maintain a distinct array of foundation and community support sources – small, medium and large individual donors, in-kind gifts and grants. Aside from aiding your organization through funder ebbs and flows, and reducing the need for emergency funds, this approach will illustrate sustainability and make your nonprofit more attractive to fund, and continue funding as you fulfill your mission.