Non-Profits Balance Charity Work and Free Enterprise

8 Dec

Countless non-profits are facing the dilemma of a decrease in funds coming in and an increase in the needs of the people whom they serve. While new marketing approaches and rearranging budgets are usually at the top of the list for strategic planning, many charities are dabbling with new and creative ideas. Innovative business models are popping up with profitable results.

It’s not a new idea for non-profits to cross over into the for profit world. Goodwill and St. Vincent DePaul have managed thrift shops for decades. Junior Achievement has been producing handmade products to help high schools students learn the principles of business and many websites are hawking the crafts of third world countries to provide a better standard of living. And this holiday season, how many of your co-workers have brought in cookie, decoration or candy catalogues to help raise money for their children’s schools? However, more non-profits are looking to become self sufficient since donations have dwindled and government funding is shaky.

Columnist Michelle Singletary writes in the Washington Post that, “To help encourage more creativity, the Alliance for Global Good, a nonprofit group that promotes philanthropic efficiency and effectiveness, has established a fund to support charitable organizations that come up with new business models. The alliance’s Innovation Fund will initially have about $10 million.”

Singletary gives one such example. “The Chicago-based North Lawndale Employment Network inspired the idea for the innovation fund. The organization created a for-profit beekeeping enterprise, Sweet Beginnings, to help ex-offenders and other low-income residents of Chicago’s Westside neighborhoods get employment training.” Now their products can be found in local stores and even in airports!

Now I’m not saying that non-profits need to create a product to sell to stay afloat. I’m just suggesting that there are many options out there to help your non-profit succeed in a tough market. With social media making marketing and financial transactions easy and accessible, this low cost way to connect to donors and consumers can be a viable way to raise money.

If your non-profit is looking for new and innovative ways to raise funds, I encourage you to start an online non-profit fundraising campaign using Fundly’s leading social fundraising platform used by non-profits big and small to raise money online via social media.


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