Impact without Grant Funding


If you have applied for grant funding and haven't won a proposal, please don't be discouraged. I understand all the time, effort, and money invested without an expected result can be frustrating. However, please understand it's nothing personal, and most foundations look at it as a return on investment. The first three-four years of your organization will be focused on showing impact. You have to show how many people you have served (data) and how the funding can help you make more impact.


Fundraising is a great way to expand your network while promoting your organization; it can also help you learn about different communities, issues, and challenges. Most importantly, it can help you build relationships with those who may help you in the future. This post will provide some tips on how to fundraise and give you an overview of some of the organizations we served and experienced. I hope that this will help you get started with your fundraising efforts and inspire you to go out and help those who need your help!


1. Determine a Funding model

A funding model is a methodical and standardized approach to building a reliable revenue base to support an organization's core programs and services. Nonprofit organizations are the heart of the community. The Primary Purpose of a nonprofit organization is to solve a social issue. Which in turn will create a positive impact on the community. Yet, funding strategies and administrative requirements are often overlooked, especially in small/medium organizations. More focus is on seeking grants and events. A nonprofit needs a strategic funding approach in place to effectively IMPACT the community.

Next week we will dive deeper into the types of funding models. But here are a couple of examples.

  • Membership-driven: The YMCA is a great example. Its mission is to enrich the lives of thousands of children, families, and individuals through programs that build spirit, mind, and body. The Y charges community for gym memberships, programs, and workshops to fund their mission. Their funding model is in alignment with the action needed to fulfill their mission. (Build spirit, Mind, and Body)

  • Contract for Service: These organizations work with government organizations to provide social services, such as housing, human services, and education, to communities in need for which the government has previously defined and allocated funding. Example: Food banks, HUD, etc.

  • Resource Recycler: This type of funding model receives donations/in-kind donations and resells them at a discounted price to the community. Goodwill is an excellent example of this. Their mission is to enhance people’s dignity and quality of life by strengthening their communities, eliminating their barriers to opportunity, and helping them reach their full potential through learning and the power of work. In addition, they provide career training to those looking to provide for their families. In 2020, sales reached $171.3 million, a 22% increase compared to the previous year. Now, this is just another example of how having a strategic approach can generate funds. As a result, nonprofits do not have to struggle on a shoestring budget.

2. Collaborate with Purpose

As stated earlier, Foundations are investing in impact. If you partner with a similar organization, for-profit or nonprofit, you can serve more people. For example, a photographer reached out to me because she wanted to host a community photoshoot "Black Men Matter" for a local newspaper and raise funds for the organization lined up with the audience. I suggested a wonderful organization, The Program inc., with a vision of “Helping Boys Become Men.” During the shoot, they raise $800. Now there weren't any overhead or expenses, and The Program gained community support/exposure. The Purpose of the shoot was to celebrate black men, right, so the audience matched the mission to connect with potential volunteers. If you'd like to learn more about The Program Inc., visit their site and watch the replay of the Leaders of the Color interview we had last year with founder Tramain Rayford in the Collective Impact App.



3. Earned Income:

Last week we had an #IA Live with the owner of African American Expressions, Greg Perkins tells us how to fundraise and sell their products and earn 40% commission. You can catch the replay