How to Begin Fundraising

You’ve just formed a nonprofit and now you are in a bit of a rut. You are really passionate about the cause, you filed for 501(C)(3) status, but now you aren’t really sure how to get the money to get things moving.

Honestly, you might have even thought that it was going to happen naturally… you would start the organization and suddenly there would be people knocking on your door to donate to the cause.

Well, unfortunately that isn’t generally the case. 

I would suppose that the more likely scenario for nonprofit organizations is that they fought for every single donation in the beginning. It is tough work, but it isn’t impossible.

Today I want to share with you 2 places to start looking for donations.

Before you start fundraising, I want to make sure you have a few things in place. Do you have your 501(C)(3) status? That is critical when you begin fundraising. Do you have a website? Most people these days will consider your website as the face of your organization. You want one that is professional and makes people want to donate to your organization.

I would say that those to things are the minimum requirements for starting to fundraise.

Okay, so now on to places to fundraise.

Family and Friends

The first place to start looking for donations is the least glamorous: family and friends. That’s right. Pick up your phone and call Mom. Call Dad. Call your siblings, aunts, uncles, close friends, and other relatives. It might feel a little awkward, but these people care about you and they are some of the most likely people who will donate to your cause right away.

Also, this isn’t just you that should be calling your family and friends. Everyone involved with the organization at this time should be doing the same thing. The Board of Directors, the volunteers, and your fellow employees should all be calling their closest kin for donations.

Friends of Friends

Have you ever heard of the idea of “six degrees of separation”? This is the theory or idea that every individual is within 6 degrees of separation from anyone else on the planet. For instance, let’s connect me to Brad Pitt. I have an uncle (first degree) who is friends with a wealthy man (second degree) who owns a private jet with two pilots (third degree) who fly Brad Pitt around the country. I have 3 degrees of separation from Brad Pitt.

The crazy thing is that we have 6 degrees of separation or less from ANYONE.

Just for one more example, let’s connect me to another famous person. Let’s do Amy Adams. I have a sister-in-law (first degree), who’s mom (second degree) went to high school with Amy Adams. So, if I wanted to get in touch with Amy Adams, I could honestly have a chance if I went through my sister-in-law’s mom.

So, what can you do with this information?

Make connections with friends of friends. Ask your friends if they know of anyone who might be interested in donating to your cause. Maybe they could post about it on their social media or call a few of their friends who might be interested.


As you start fundraising, you’ll want to remember that you are looking for people who have a connection to you and/or a connection to your cause. Furthermore, you are looking for people who have the capacity to give. If you can find people who have both the connection and capacity to give, then you have found a donor.


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