How to Make Money with a Non-Profit in 2023: 15 Creative Ways to Fund Your Mission

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Are you a digital nomad or a lifestyle entrepreneur looking to give back to society? Knowing how to make money with a non-profit organization may be the perfect way to make a meaningful impact.

However, sustaining these ventures financially can be a challenge. That’s why understanding how to make money with a non-profit is crucial.

One great tip to kickstart your financial journey is mastering the art of grant writing. Grants from government agencies and private foundations can provide a significant financial cushion, allowing you to focus on your mission rather than fundraising.

In this post, we’ll dive into 15 creative and effective ways to raise funds for your non-profit, ensuring you have the resources to make a lasting difference.

Quick Takeaways:

  1. Mastering Grants: Unlock financial stability for your non-profit by becoming an expert in grant writing. Grants can serve as a significant financial backbone, allowing you to focus on your mission.
  2. Corporate Sponsorships: Align your non-profit’s mission with a corporation’s values to secure sponsorship deals. This not only boosts your funds but also increases your exposure.
  3. Membership Fees: Create a tiered membership system to offer unique benefits and generate a consistent revenue stream. Membership fees can offer financial flexibility to your non-profit.
  4. Online Courses: Leverage your expertise to create and sell online courses, adding another avenue of consistent income that also furthers your mission.
  5. Consulting Services: Monetize your expertise by offering consulting services. This can be a crucial part of your strategy to both raise funds and make an impact.
  6. Merchandising: From t-shirts to planners, merchandising can be a fun and engaging way to raise additional funds while also promoting your cause.
  7. Crowdfunding: Utilize the power of collective donations for specific projects or urgent needs. Your mission can emotionally resonate with the public, driving contributions.
  8. Donor Subscriptions: Set up monthly or yearly subscriptions for donors to create a reliable and predictable revenue stream for your non-profit.

What is a non-profit organization?

A non-profit organization is a unique type of business entity designed to serve a specific mission or cause rather than generating profits for individual owners or shareholders. For digital nomads and lifestyle entrepreneurs accustomed to focusing on revenue and profit margins, this may seem like an entirely different landscape.

However, it’s a space where your skills in online marketing, content creation, and community building can genuinely make a lasting impact. Non-profits can operate in various sectors, including education, healthcare, environmental conservation, and social welfare, among others.

The key distinction between a non-profit and a for-profit business is the organization’s tax-exempt status. This means that the income generated is reinvested into the non-profit’s mission rather than being distributed as profits or dividends.

For you, the digital nomad or lifestyle entrepreneur, this offers a meaningful way to contribute to causes you care about while applying your unique skill set. You can still raise money—through grants, donations, or even revenue-generating activities—but the focus remains on the organization’s core mission.

Many non-profits also operate on a global scale, making them a great fit for those who live a location-independent lifestyle. With the growing accessibility of remote work tools and platforms, you can run or contribute to a non-profit from anywhere in the world.

This allows you to blend your entrepreneurial spirit with purpose-driven work, maximizing both impact and personal satisfaction.

How to Make Money with a Non-Profit

1. Grants

Grants are like golden tickets for non-profit organizations. They provide the financial fuel to turbocharge your mission without the need to pay back the funds.

Whether you’re looking to empower underprivileged communities or conduct educational programs, there’s likely a grant for that. By mastering grant writing, you or a team member can unlock funds from both government agencies and private foundations.

The right grant can set your non-profit on a path of sustainable growth, making it easier to focus on your mission rather than constantly worrying about how to raise money.

Strategies for Grants:

  • Research Thoroughly: Keep an eye on listings from government agencies and private foundations that regularly offer grants to nonprofits.
  • Grant Writing Skillset: Either hire a specialist or take a course in grant writing to ensure your proposals stand out.
  • Measure & Report: Be prepared to measure the impact of your mission and report it back to grant providers. The better your results, the higher the chances of securing future grants.

Product Examples:

  • Grant writing software that helps structure your applications.
  • A database subscription specifically designed to provide information on available grants.
  • Consulting services that offer specialized advice on winning grants for nonprofits.
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2. Corporate Sponsorships

Another way to make money with a non-profit is through corporate sponsorships. It can be a game-changer for nonprofit organizations, especially if you can align your mission with a corporation’s values. Companies are increasingly looking for ways to contribute positively to society.

Offering them the chance to sponsor fundraising events or specific programs can be mutually beneficial. It not only gives them a platform to show their social responsibility but also provides your organization with the funds and exposure it needs.

With tax-exempt status, sponsorships can be a win-win for both parties involved.

Strategies for Corporate Sponsorships:

  • Pitch Perfectly: Craft an irresistible pitch that aligns your mission with the corporate goals of potential sponsors.
  • Visibility: Offer high-value sponsorship packages that include naming rights to events, programs, or even sections of your website.
  • Sustain Relationships: Don’t view sponsorships as one-off events. Maintain these relationships to turn them into long-term partnerships.

Product Examples:

  • Sponsorship proposal templates designed specifically for nonprofits.
  • Event management software to run seamless fundraising events, making it attractive for corporate sponsorships.
  • PR services that specialize in building and maintaining corporate-nonprofit partnerships.

3. Membership Fees

For nonprofit organizations looking to raise money sustainably, membership fees can offer a predictable and steady income stream. This is one of the best ways to make money with a non-profit. If you’re offering invaluable resources like premium content, networking opportunities, or niche tools, people will be willing to pay for membership. This system not only brings in a regular income but also engages your audience on a deeper level. Plus, membership fees are usually considered unrelated business income, not donations, so they offer another layer of financial flexibility.


  • Tiered Membership: Offer different levels of membership with varying benefits to cater to different audience needs.
  • Exclusivity: Make sure that some content or tools are exclusive to members, thereby adding value to the membership.
  • Easy Payment Options: Enable easy, recurring online donations as membership fees, so it’s hassle-free for your audience.

Product Examples:

  • Membership management software that helps in automating sign-ups, renewals, and payments.
  • Content platforms that allow you to lock premium content behind a paywall.
  • Automated email marketing tools that send personalized updates and offers to members, encouraging renewals.

4. Online Courses

Creating and selling online courses is a powerful way for many non-profit organizations to generate revenue while furthering their mission.

You’ve got expertise in a specific area, whether it’s environmental sustainability, social justice, or personal development. Why not package that knowledge into an online course?

As a digital nomad, you have the flexibility to create and manage these courses from anywhere in the world.

The revenue from these courses can serve as a consistent income stream that can help raise funds for your other initiatives.

Strategies for Online Courses:

  • Content Planning: Outline a course that aligns closely with your nonprofit’s mission and addresses the specific needs of your target audience.
  • High-Quality Production: Invest in good recording equipment and software to produce a professional-looking course.
  • Pricing Strategy: Determine a reasonable compensation for the course that reflects its value but is also accessible to your audience.

Product Examples:

  • Course platforms like Teachable or Udemy are tailored for nonprofit use.
  • High-quality microphones and cameras for recording course content.
  • Market research tools that help you identify what your audience is willing to pay for a course.

5. Consulting Services

Consulting is an avenue for your non-profit to monetize the expertise you or your board members possess. Whether it’s advice on how to transition to sustainable energy sources or effective ways to combat food insecurity, your insights can be invaluable. It’s an excellent way to make money with a non-profit.

Offering your wisdom for a fee is entirely within the realm of acceptable activities for a nonprofit, and it can be a key part of your strategy to raise funds.

As long as the compensation is reasonable and aligns with your mission, consulting can help you generate revenue while making an impact.

Strategies for Consulting Services:

  • Target Audience: Identify the organizations or individuals who would most benefit from your consulting services.
  • Consulting Packages: Create structured packages that offer various levels of service and commitment.
  • Legal Formalities: Make sure all contracts and payments align with your nonprofit status and rules.

Product Examples:

  • Booking software that allows clients to book consulting sessions with you easily.
  • CRM software to manage relationships and engagements with your consulting clients.
  • Payment gateways that manage invoicing and payments securely and efficiently.
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6. Merchandising

You’d be surprised how much a cool t-shirt or a useful planner can help to both raise awareness for your cause and generate extra revenue.

Merchandising is a fantastic strategy for nonprofit founders and board members alike to raise funds in a way that’s engaging and offers value to supporters.

From branded apparel to resourceful planners, you can offer a wide range of products that not only generate revenue but also serve as a walking billboard for your mission.

Strategies for Merchandising:

  • Quality Over Quantity: Make sure that the merchandise is of high quality and aligns with the values of your organization.
  • Online Store: Set up an online store where supporters can browse products, making it easy for them to make a purchase.
  • Membership Perks: Consider offering discounted merchandise as a part of your membership program to increase sales and memberships simultaneously.

Product Examples:

  • E-commerce platforms like Shopify or WooCommerce are optimized for nonprofits.
  • Bulk-ordering services for producing high-quality, branded merchandise.
  • Inventory management software to track your stock levels, sales, and deliveries.

7. Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is a potent way for charitable nonprofits to make money quickly for specific projects or urgent needs.

Unlike for-profit businesses, your nonprofit has the advantage of a mission that can resonate emotionally with the public. Whether it’s a new community center or an urgent relief operation, people like to contribute to the causes they believe in.

Even those who can’t donate much can still contribute, making crowdfunding an inclusive way to raise funds.

Strategies for Crowdfunding:

  • Storytelling: Craft a compelling narrative around your project to engage potential donors emotionally.
  • Updates: Keep your donors in the loop with regular updates about project milestones and how their money is making a difference.
  • Tax Benefits: Make it clear that contributions can be tax-deductible, which can be a motivating factor for potential donors.

Product Examples:

  • Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter or Indiegogo offer special features for nonprofits.
  • Social media advertising services to boost the visibility of your crowdfunding campaign.
  • Analytics tools that can track donor engagement and campaign performance.

8. Donor Subscriptions

If your nonprofit organization wants to create a stable financial foundation, consider setting up donor subscriptions.

Unlike one-time charitable donations, monthly or yearly contributions provide a predictable revenue stream.

Plus, it allows supporters to contribute in a way that is manageable for them over time. The reliable income helps you focus on your mission rather than constantly hunting for new funds.

Strategies for Donor Subscriptions:

  • Donor Tiers: Offer different levels of subscriptions with perks to encourage higher levels of giving.
  • Automatic Renewal: Use membership management software to set up automatic renewals to make it easy for donors.
  • Tax Benefits: Just like with crowdfunding, make sure to inform donors about the income tax benefits of their subscription.

Product Examples:

  • Donor management systems that integrate subscription-based donations.
  • Email automation tools for sending out timely reminders and thank-you messages.
  • Financial management software that can help you keep track of these recurring donations for income tax purposes.

9. Host Events

Events, whether online or offline, serve dual purposes for nonprofits: they raise awareness and they also raise funds.

For digital nomads who can take their work anywhere, consider hosting webinars, virtual summits, or local meet-ups based on your current location.

These events can offer something of value to attendees, such as knowledge or networking opportunities, making them more willing to pay an entrance fee or make a donation.

Strategies for Hosting Events:

  • Event Planning: Choose topics or themes that align closely with your organization’s mission and will attract your target audience.
  • Multiple Revenue Streams: Aside from ticket sales, consider other ways to make money like sponsorships or selling merchandise during the event.
  • Post-Event Engagement: Use the event to capture attendee information for future engagement, perhaps encouraging them to become regular donors or subscribe to a membership program.

Product Examples:

  • Event management software that can handle ticket sales, online donations, and virtual attendance.
  • Promotional material providers for producing high-quality banners, stands, or other advertising materials.
  • Post-event survey tools that help you gather attendee feedback for continuous improvement.

10. Workshops

Workshops present an excellent avenue for raising funds while staying true to your nonprofit’s mission. These events offer people valuable insights and actionable solutions related to the problem your organization aims to solve.

By charging a nominal fee, you can cover operating expenses while offering a deeply enriching experience to attendees. The structure of workshops allows you to delve deeply into issues, offering both theoretical knowledge and practical skills.

As a result, workshops can generate substantial revenue for your charitable organization while simultaneously elevating awareness and engagement around your cause.

Strategies for Workshops:

  • Curriculum Design: Develop a workshop curriculum that is closely aligned with your nonprofit’s mission.
  • Incentivize Corporate Donations: Offer discounted bulk tickets to corporations who may benefit from your workshop, turning it into a corporate donation opportunity.
  • Tax Benefits: Ensure attendees know their fees might be tax-deductible, depending on the structure and benefits of the workshop.

Product Examples:

  • Virtual event platforms like Zoom or WebEx for hosting online workshops.
  • Interactive online whiteboards such as Miro or Jamboard for collaborative learning.
  • Marketing software for automating invites, reminders, and follow-ups related to the workshop.
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11. Licensing Content

If your nonprofit corporation is adept at creating high-quality content, consider licensing it out. Whether it’s in-depth research reports, infographics, or educational videos, your content has value.

By licensing this content to educational institutions or other organizations, you can generate a stable income that supplements grant funds and donations.

Not only does this add a revenue stream, but it also extends the reach and impact of your work.

Strategies for Licensing Content:

  • Content Portfolio: Build a robust portfolio of content that can be licensed, ensuring it aligns with your mission.
  • Negotiation: Be prepared to negotiate licensing fees and terms, aiming for a win-win scenario for both parties.
  • Legal Clarity: Ensure that all licensing agreements are legally sound, protecting the interests of your nonprofit.

Product Examples:

  • Digital asset management software like Adobe Experience Manager for organizing licensable content.
  • Legal template services for crafting licensing agreements.
  • Analytics tools for gauging the performance and reach of your licensed content.

12. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing can serve as a supplementary income stream for your nonprofit. It involves promoting products or services that resonate with your nonprofit’s mission.

When someone makes a purchase through your affiliate link, you earn a commission. This aligns well with the philosophy of many nonprofits, as you can choose to promote products that you would naturally recommend to your audience anyway.

It’s another smart way to cover operating expenses without compromising on your mission or values.

Strategies for Affiliate Marketing:

  • Choose Wisely: Only promote products or services that genuinely align with your nonprofit’s mission.
  • Transparency: Be upfront with your audience that you earn a commission from their purchase, to maintain trust.
  • Peer-to-Peer Fundraising: Encourage your supporters to share your affiliate links, effectively turning them into fundraisers for your organization.

Product Examples:

  • Affiliate marketing platforms like ShareASale or ClickBank specialized for nonprofits.
  • Social media management tools like Buffer for scheduling posts that include affiliate links.
  • Analytics software like Google Analytics to track clicks and conversions from your affiliate links.

13. Paid Partnerships

Forming paid partnerships is a stellar way to generate income for non-profit organizations. This strategy involves teaming up with for-profit companies or even other non-profits whose mission aligns with yours.

Whether it’s offering advertising space on your platform or collaborating on projects, this relationship can be mutually beneficial. Corporate sponsors are often keen to associate with causes that bolster their brand image.

Additionally, these collaborations can make your fundraising ideas more impactful and can often lead to recurring donations. However, be aware of the Internal Revenue Code concerning unrelated income, as some types of income might require you to pay taxes.

Strategies for Paid Partnerships:

  • Vet Potential Partners: Ensure any corporate sponsors or for-profit companies align with your mission and values.
  • Long-Term Relationship: Aim for partnerships that can offer sustained, recurring donations or other benefits.
  • Consult the IRS: Be familiar with the regulations around unrelated income and its tax implications.

Product Examples:

  • CRM systems like Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud for managing and tracking partner interactions.
  • Project management tools such as Asana to coordinate collaborative projects.
  • Accounting software like QuickBooks Nonprofit for tracking income and any tax obligations.

14. Investments

If your non-profit has gathered some reserve funds, consider dipping your toes into the investment pool. Low-risk investments can help grow your nonprofit’s income over time.

Since various government agencies offer tax benefits for nonprofits, this is a less common but fruitful avenue to explore.

However, you should consult a financial advisor who’s familiar with the regulations affecting non-profits, especially concerning tax-exempt status and unrelated income.

Strategies for Investments:

  • Risk Assessment: Consult financial experts to determine the level of risk your nonprofit can afford.
  • Legal Consultation: Before investing, check the tax implications and other legal considerations.
  • Regular Audits: Keep track of your investment portfolio with periodic reviews.

Product Examples:

  • Low-risk mutual funds specifically geared towards nonprofits.
  • Financial advisory services that specialize in non-profit portfolios.
  • Investment tracking software that syncs with your nonprofit’s accounting system.

15. Real Estate and REITs

Investing in real estate and Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) can offer a steady, long-term income stream. It’s one of the proven ways to make money with a non-profit.

Before diving in, ensure that owning property or investing in REITs aligns with your nonprofit’s mission and goals. Real estate and REIT investments can be lucrative avenues to explore, especially if you lease the properties or choose REITs that focus on sectors that align with your mission.

However, be cautious as certain types of real estate or REIT income might be considered unrelated income, which could affect your tax-exempt status.

Strategies for Real Estate and REITs:

  • Mission Compatibility: Choose real estate investments and REITs that can serve or support your nonprofit’s mission. For instance, if your nonprofit focuses on healthcare, consider REITs that invest in healthcare facilities.
  • Legal Check: Consult tax advisors and legal experts on how real estate and REIT income affect your tax-exempt status. Make sure to understand the nuances of unrelated income and its tax implications.
  • Sustainable Financing: Work on a financial model that includes maintenance costs, property taxes, REIT management fees, and other expenses. The goal is to create a sustainable revenue stream that supports your nonprofit’s operations without compromising its tax benefits.

Product Examples:

  • Real estate search platforms like LoopNet filter properties by nonprofit suitability, helping you find the perfect match for your mission.
  • Legal services specializing in nonprofit real estate and REIT transactions. These experts can guide you through the maze of legal requirements and tax implications.
  • Property and REIT management software tailored for nonprofits. These platforms can help you track income, expenses, and the overall performance of your real estate and REIT investments.
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How to Make Money with a Non-Profit: Summary

Running a non-profit organization is a noble endeavor, but it’s also a financial challenge that requires smart planning and diverse income streams. From mastering grant writing to leveraging real estate investments, there are numerous strategies to ensure the sustainability and impact of your mission.

Key takeaways include the importance of tapping into large, lump-sum financial boosts available through grants and corporate sponsorships. Additionally, innovative approaches like crowdfunding, donor subscriptions, and affiliate marketing can broaden your organization’s reach and resonate with modern digital lifestyles.

If you’re interested in entrepreneurial ventures that create both financial and societal value, don’t stop here. Explore more money-making and business ideas tailored for lifestyle entrepreneurs and digital nomads on our blog, such as;

These revenue-generating avenues not only fortify your organization’s financial health but also broaden its reach and efficacy in making a meaningful difference.

Your journey to creating impactful, sustainable change is just a click away.

How to Make Money with a Non-Profit: FAQs

How do you make money with a non-profit?

Many nonprofit organizations generate revenue through a variety of methods such as government grants, fundraising events, and corporate sponsorships. These financial resources are critical for sustaining the organization’s mission and operations. Some nonprofits also have membership programs that provide a steady stream of income.

What can non-profits sell to make money?

Nonprofits can sell goods or services to raise funds. These could range from branded merchandise to online courses or workshops. The important thing is that the activities align with the non-profit’s core mission and comply with tax regulations concerning unrelated business income.

Do non-profits try to make money?

Yes, non-profits do aim to generate revenue, but unlike for-profit businesses, any money made is reinvested into the organization’s mission. This can cover operating expenses and reasonable compensation for staff and board members. The goal is to have enough financial resources to serve the local community effectively.

How do I start a non-profit for beginners?

Starting a non-profit involves several steps, including defining your mission, drafting bylaws, and assembling a board of directors. You’ll also need to register the organization and apply for tax-exempt status. To raise funds, consider applying for government grants, seeking individual contributions, and forging partnerships with other organizations.

How do I attract potential donors?

Effective donor attraction often involves targeted fundraising letters, social media campaigns, and community outreach. You can also solicit donations through special events or by collaborating with other nonprofits. Building strong relationships with potential donors is key to securing long-term financial support.

What are the responsibilities of non-profit founders and board members?

Nonprofit founders and board members are responsible for overseeing the organization’s mission, finances, and legal compliance. They often have a say in major decisions like how to allocate resources, apply for government grants, and generate revenue through various methods such as membership fees.

How can I partner with local government and other organizations?

Partnering with local government can provide valuable financial and logistic support. You can also collaborate with other organizations to co-host events, apply for grants, or share resources. These partnerships often help in reaching a wider local community and attracting more potential donors.

How does a membership program work in a non-profit?

A membership program typically involves members paying recurring membership fees in exchange for certain benefits. These could range from exclusive content to special event invitations. The fees help generate a consistent revenue stream and are a great way how to make money with a non-profit organization.

How can I ensure reasonable compensation for my non-profit staff?

Reasonable compensation can be determined by researching what other similar-sized nonprofits are paying their staff for comparable roles. Transparency in compensation is critical for maintaining trust among board members, employees, and potential donors.

Can I collaborate with other non-profits to raise funds?

Yes, many nonprofits join forces to raise funds, particularly when their missions align closely. Such collaborations can be in the form of joint fundraising events, shared marketing campaigns, or even applying for government grants together.

What role does the local community play in a non-profit’s success?

The local community is often the backbone of a nonprofit’s success. Community members can serve as volunteers, potential donors, and advocates for the organization. Their support can be invaluable in fulfilling the nonprofit’s mission.

How can a non-profit sustain itself in the long run?

Long-term sustainability requires diversified income streams—from government grants to individual contributions and fundraising events, making it one of the best ways how to make money with a non-profit organization. Building strong relationships with board members, the local community, and other organizations is also key to maintaining a stable financial foundation.

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