This guide shares insight into some of the top impact investors in the nonprofit space.

A Spotlight on 10 Top Impact Investors Driving Social Change

Starting a business that’s focused on social good is noble, but like almost all businesses, it requires financial support to flourish. Fortunately, there’s a growing group of investors who are passionate about more than just making money—they want to make a difference.

In a world where profit meets purpose, impact investors are reshaping the business landscape by investing capital into startups and small companies dedicated to making a positive difference.

If you’re a founder of a social good startup looking for investors who share your values, you’re in the right spot. In this article, we’ll introduce you to remarkable social good investors who are actively seeking out companies committed to positive change, including anything from fundraising technology vendors to Google Grants agencies. Here’s what we’ll cover:

If you’re a founder with a vision, these investors could be your key to success. As a company that’s powered by mission-driven investors, our team at NXUnite is excited to share our unique perspective and help you understand the role these groups are making.

Click here to talk to our recommended social good investors, Foundry for Good.

Understanding Impact Investing

Before shining the spotlight on specific investors, let’s take a step back and start with the fundamentals of impact investing. We’ll walk through basic questions, so you can make an informed decision when choosing an investor for your business.

What is impact investing?

Impact investing is when a business or other entity invests in companies or organizations with the dual aim of achieving financial returns and positive impacts. Unlike traditional investments that focus primarily on financial gains, impact investing strongly emphasizes achieving measurable outcomes in social good areas like environmental sustainability, education, poverty, social justice, and healthcare.

This graphic defines the term Impact Investment.

Key aspects of impact investing include:

  • Value Alignment: Social good investors seek investments that align with their values and social or environmental goals.
  • Measurable Impact: These investments are intended to produce quantifiable and positive societal or environmental outcomes. As such, investors use various metrics to assess their investments’ impact.
  • Financial Returns: While intended to create positive change, impact investing should still be financially viable and competitive with traditional investments.
  • Diverse Focus Areas: Impact investments cover a range of sectors, such as renewable energy, education, and affordable housing.

While these investments involve several moving parts, impact investing is essentially leveraging capital to create positive change, earn revenue, and drive innovation across the social good sector.

Does impact investing make a difference?

Yes, it does! Impact investing has gained momentum as individuals and businesses increasingly recognize their ability to address pressing global challenges while also earning financial benefits.

By directing capital into businesses and initiatives that aim to drive change, impact investing provides these benefits:

  • Scaling Social Innovation: Impact investing funds innovative and socially responsible startups and small businesses. This financial support helps recipients expand operations, reach more people, and accelerate impact.
  • Attracting More Capital: The success of impact investments can inspire other investors to allocate their capital toward socially and environmentally responsible initiatives. In other words, they create a snowball effect of positive change.
  • Aligning Values and Finance: Impact investing allows businesses to align their financial resources with their values and missions, ensuring their investments have a meaningful impact on the world.

Overall, impact investing enables investors to use their financial resources strategically to drive positive change, solve global challenges, and promote a more sustainable and equitable future. It demonstrates that financial returns and ESG impact can be mutually reinforcing.

How do I find social impact investors?

Browsing lists like this one is a good start. Consider following industry blogs or using online investment platforms like Toniic and the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) Investor Directory. These platforms connect social impact entrepreneurs with potential investors.

You can also join impact investing conferences and networking events. These gatherings attract social impact investors, foundations, and philanthropic organizations. Attend these events and start conversations with potential funders for your business.

What’s the difference between impact investing and ESG investing?

While similar, these two types of investments have a key difference.

Impact investors focus on generating specific, measurable, and positive social or environmental impacts alongside financial returns. Meanwhile, environmental, social, or governance (ESG) investors incorporate ESG factors into the investment decision-making process.

ESG investors look for companies that meet specific ESG requirements, but the companies they invest in aren’t necessarily part of the social good sector. For example, an investor might use ESG standards to assess a for-profit clothing store’s supply chain practices. By integrating these non-financial factors into their investment strategies, they aim to mitigate risks and ensure they support businesses that will be sustainable long-term.

Focus Area: Mission-Driven Businesses Such As Nonprofit Technology and Consulting Services

With a diverse background of investments, Foundry For Good knows how to take your social impact further. They won’t just invest capital; they’ll infuse your mission-driven startup with strategic marketing solutions.

Foundry for Good provides you with direct access to experts in philanthropy and change, like the changemakers here at NXUnite!

Here are their primary areas of focus:

This chart breaks down Foundry for Good's impact investment services.
  • Content and Inbound Strategy: They’ll create content tailored to your brand, increase brand visibility with content on influential websites, help you stay ahead in search engine traffic via keyword research, and regularly audit your content. Essentially, they’ll elevate your content strategy both on and offsite.
  • Performance Reporting: Foundry for Good will conduct robust technical audits and rectify high-priority SEO issues to give your site the strongest foundation possible to attract potential customers. With detailed reports, they’ll keep you in the loop on inbound lead generation, keyword performance, and technical performance.
  • Mission-Driven PR with NXUnite: Join our community of like-minded businesses, leverage sponsored emails, be a part of panels, and lead exclusive webinars to generate leads and grow your business.

Backed by a passionate team, a network of mission-driven businesses, and cutting-edge marketing strategies, Foundry for Good will make sure your business’s impact is felt.

Notable Impact Investments

Foundry for Good has an evergrowing portfolio of social good investments. Some of their companies making a difference include:

These are the businesses that Foundry for Good has invested in.
  • NXUnite by Nexus Marketing offers our vibrant online community that brings brands and mission-driven professionals together through webinars, online directories, and educational content. It’s a place where we showcase our friends in the industry, help them forge new connections, and foster unity across the mission-driven sector.
  • Double the Donation is the leading provider of matching gift software to nonprofits and educational institutions. It provides access to the world’s most robust database of corporate matching gift program records, covering over 99% of match-eligible donors.
  • Nexus Marketing is the only digital marketing agency specializing in social good professionals and how they find the products, people, and services they need. We offer SEO and content marketing services for brands powering community impact.
  • eCardWidget provides adaptable eCard software, ideal for everything from nonprofits thanking donors to businesses inspiring employees. Thanks to its customizability, eCardWidget empowers users to create custom eCards branded to their cause or business within seconds.
  • Getting Attention provides Google Ad Grant services to nonprofits. Their global team helps nonprofits through every stage of the grant management process, including everything from applying for the grant to creating ads and maintaining eligibility. With their expert help, Getting Attention clients can make the most of their $10,000 in ad credits each month.

If you’re looking for a reliable impact investor, we can’t sing Foundry for Good’s praises enough! Chat with their team to see if they’re the right fit for your business.

Click here to talk to the mission-driven investors at Foundry for Good.

Other Social Good Investors Making A Difference

We’ve used a variety of methods to evaluate these remaining investors, such as selecting ones with substantial assets under management (AUM), which is the total market value of investments they manage.

Whether you’re looking for nonprofit technology investors, consulting agency investors, or mission-driven investors in general, there’s something for every small business wanting to power their social impact initiative.

This graphic shows the logos of several other top impact investors.


Focus Area: Sustainable Infrastructure

Actis is a leading global investor in sustainable infrastructure. Since its inception in 2004, this impact investor has raised $24 billion to invest in a better tomorrow. They invest in energy infrastructure, long life infrastructure, digital infrastructure, real estate, and private equity.

Actis has a long history of building businesses. Today, it has 17 offices across the globe, enabling them to invest in meaningful opportunities wherever they may come from. They have an impressive portfolio of organizations they’ve invested in, including energy infrastructure companies like Atlas Renewable Energy, long life infrastructure companies like Emicool, and private equity firms like Upstream Systems.

Bain Capital

Focus Areas: Health and Wellness, Education and Workforce Development, and Sustainability

Established in 1984, Bain Capital is a private investment firm with approximately $180 billion in AUM.

While known for its traditional investment activities, Bain Capital has an impact investing arm called Bain Capital Double Impact. With this division of their firm, they invest in companies and initiatives that address social and environmental challenges, such as healthcare, education, sustainability, and social equality.

One example of their work is their recent partnership with Meteor Education. With Bain Capital’s support, they aim to expand Meteor Education into new markets and advance its mission to support educators in creating enriching learning experiences.

Bamboo Capital Partners

Focus Areas: Financial Inclusion, Access to Clean Energy, Access to Healthcare, and Agribusiness

Founded in 2007, Bamboo Capital Partners has a global presence in impact investing markets. Bamboo aims to improve the lives of marginalized communities while delivering financial returns. It employs a blended finance approach and works with partners (such as foundations and other impact investors) to jumpstart opportunities brought to them.

Bamboo specifically targets companies with products, services, or operations that lead to positive social and/or environmental changes. For example, that might mean a business that improves the quality of life or one that increases efficiencies to reduce expenses for target populations.

BlueOrchard Finance S.A.

Focus Areas: Financial Inclusion and Poverty Alleviation

With principal offices in Switzerland, BlueOrchard Financial operates in more than 100 emerging and frontier markets in various areas like Asia, Latin America, Africa, and Eastern Europe. It was founded as part of a United Nations initiative in 2001 as the first commercial manager of microfinance debt investment worldwide. That makes it an impact investment pioneer.

Now, BlueOrchard is majority-owned by asset management business, Schroders, and has a global reach of more than 280 million people. Schroders targets sophisticated investors and global initiatives that fight inequality and the effects of climate change. They have a presence in the microfinance, agriculture, renewable energy, healthcare, and education sectors.

One of BlueOrchard’s recent investments is ChargeZone, a fast-growing electric vehicle charging company located in India. BlueOrchard invested in the company to fund the roll-out of 286 charging stations, serving 1,130 electric buses.

Generation Investment Management

Focus Areas: Global Equity, Asia Equity, Growth Equity, and Private Equity

Founded by Al Gore and David Blood in 2004, Generation Investment Management has pioneered the development of sustainability and ESG investing. Known for its commitment to impact investing, this firm strives to deliver long-term financial returns while addressing global sustainability challenges like environmental degradation.

It employs a sustainable capitalistic approach, emphasizing that “sustainability factors have a material impact on companies’ returns over the long term.”

Hamilton Lane

Focus Areas: Professional Services, Renewable Energy, and Software

With 22 years of impact investing experience, Hamilton Lane is a leading, global investment manager providing private markets solutions. Since 2001, they’ve invested in mission-driven solutions and now have $3.1 billion in assets related to impact strategies. What’s more, they report on the impact of their investments to ensure they help companies drive social change. Examples of metrics include energy savings, water cleaned, and reduction in CO2 emissions.

In March 2022, Hamilton Lane released a Climate Policy Statement to communicate its dedication to the global search for climate-change solutions. They also pledged to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

Some of Hamilton Lane’s investments include:

  • Intersect Power, which develops large utility-scale renewable energy with a focus on solar and battery-storage projects.
  • TXO Systems, which provides B2B circular economy solutions for telecommunications and related industries through selling, reusing, repairing, and recycling equipment.
  • Neuroflow, which provides behavioral health software that uses digital features to reinforce in-person clinical care.

Meridiam Infrastructure

Focus Areas: Critical Public Services, Sustainable Mobility, and Innovative Low Carbon Solutions

Meridiam Infrastructure is driven by its mission to make the UN Sustainable Development Goals a reality. They translated these goals into their organization’s five strategic pillars:

  1. Deliver resilient infrastructure and develop resilient cities.
  2. Accelerate energy transition.
  3. Avoid & reduce emissions.
  4. Promote good work conditions, inclusion, diversity & gender equality.
  5. Protect & enhance biodiversity.

Driven by these pillars, they strive to build resilient communities, tackle climate change, and protect the environment. They do so by supporting and accelerating the development of innovative, ambitious SMEs leading the ecological transition.

Meridiam Infrastructure currently manages more than 120 assets in the social good sector around the world. One investment example is Okamac, which is the European leader of Apple computer reconditioning. Meridiam Infrastructure invested in Okamac to participate in the decarbonization of the computing sector by supporting a global champion of computer reconditioning.


Focus Areas: Climate and Conservation, Education, Financial Inclusion, Food and Agriculture, Healthcare, and Impact Services

Launched in 1992, TPG is now a leading global alternative asset manager. They launched The Rise Fund in 2016, making them the first global alternative asset manager to develop an impact investing business with more than $1 billion in AUM. Today, they have more than $18 billion in AUM.

They believe that private enterprise is critical in addressing global societal changes, and their Impact platform helps drive competitive financial returns and measurable societal benefits. Here’s an overview of their investment funds:

  • The Rise Fund offers investment resources, business-building skills, and a global network to grow profitable businesses seeking to deliver positive and sustainable impact.
  • TPG Rise Climate is their dedicated climate impact investing product. This fund was created to address global climate change challenges and scale innovative businesses that can enable quantifiable carbon aversion.
  • Evercare is a healthcare fund that strives to provide affordable, high-quality healthcare.

Ideal for companies looking for a vast network, TPG has a substantial global network for raising capital and driving value in their investments. Some of their investments include Palmetto, which expands access to clean energy for homeowners and businesses, and Teachers of Tomorrow, which focuses on creating education leaders.

Turner Impact Capital

Focus Areas: Educational Facilities, Affordable Housing, and Healthcare Facilities

As one of the fastest-growing social impact investors, Turner Impact Capital specializes in investing in and developing real estate projects that positively influence society and generate financial returns. They work to address critical societal challenges, particularly in underserved communities, to help create positive change in communities where their investments can make a measurable difference.

For example, they invest in the development and improvement of affordable workforce housing and community healthcare centers in low-income areas.

Final Thoughts on These Social Good Investors

Impact investing isn’t just about dollars and cents; it’s about making a meaningful impact. Impact investing bridges the gap between profit-driven business and social good. For founders of startups and small social good companies, the right investor can be a game-changer.

Again, we recommend chatting with Foundry for Good, a social good investor who’s actively investing in businesses that cater to nonprofits.

As you continue along in your journey, explore these additional resources:

Click this image to chat with the top impact investors at Foundry for Good.

Connect your nonprofit with local businesses.

4 Tips for Connecting Your Nonprofit With Local Businesses

Whether you’re seeking sponsorship, volunteer support, or joint marketing opportunities, establishing partnerships with businesses in your community is a powerful way to enhance your nonprofit’s impact. However, developing these partnerships can be challenging, time-consuming, and confusing without a strategic plan in place. 

In this guide, we’ll explore four tips for connecting your nonprofit with local businesses. From identifying potential partners to creating win-win collaborations, these insights will help you build strong cross-sector relationships that support your mission and drive positive change in your communities.

1. Research and Identify Potential Partners

To identify potential partners in the community, a nonprofit can follow these steps:

  • Define your objectives. Nonprofits often seek partnerships when organizing a large-scale fundraising event, launching a community initiative, or implementing a specific program that requires additional financial resources and support.
  • Research local businesses. Conduct thorough research to identify businesses in the community. Utilize online directories, local business associations, chamber of commerce listings, and social media platforms to identify potential partners.
  • Ensure your values align. Evaluate the values, missions, and corporate social responsibility initiatives of the identified businesses. Look for businesses that have a natural connection or alignment with your cause or mission. For example, a dog daycare business would be an obvious match for an animal shelter since they have similar clients and services. 

Reach out to the identified businesses to introduce your nonprofit and express interest in exploring a potential partnership. This can be done through phone calls, emails, or in-person meetings. 

2. Establish Clear Benefits

As you connect with local businesses, introduce your mission and communicate the benefits of a partnership. These may include: 

  • Community development: Partnering with a nonprofit allows businesses to contribute to community development and address social issues, which can have a direct impact on their growth.
  • Elevated brand reputation. Collaborating with a nonprofit allows businesses to align themselves with a mission or social good cause, which can enhance their brand reputation and perception among customers, employees, and influencers in the community. 
  • Increased brand awareness. Add the business’s contact information and logo to marketing materials like fundraising flyers, event invitations, and partnership-related emails to increase their brand visibility. Or, create a personalized video about your sponsor and post it to your social media pages.
  • Employee morale and engagement. Most employees value working for a socially responsible company. Creating matching gift programs, introducing volunteer opportunities, and sponsoring local nonprofits can improve their satisfaction. 
  • Tax benefits. Businesses may be eligible for tax benefits or incentives when they donate or support nonprofit organizations. These financial incentives can provide a tangible benefit to the business, helping to offset costs or improve the bottom line.

Customize these benefits to suit the specific goals, needs, and sectors of the businesses you’re approaching. For example, a pet rescue organization might ask a dog trainer to financially support their upcoming adoption event. In return, the pet rescue will use Gingr’s pet business software to promote the dog trainer’s services, potentially leading to an influx of new customers. 

3. Create Tailored Partnership Opportunities

Develop opportunities that cater to different types and sizes of businesses. Offer a range of options, such as:

  • Sponsorship opportunities: Sponsorships come in the form of financial or in-kind contributions. To incentivize larger gifts, Double the Donation’s guide to corporate sponsorships recommends creating tiered benefit packages that correlate to the level of support given. For instance, when you receive a donation of $10,000 or more, you might mention the business in a speech and display its logo on partnership-related materials. Businesses that give less than this might receive a social media shoutout instead.
  • Auction item donations: Many businesses have relevant products or services that would be valuable items to auction off at your next event. For example, a local hotel could offer a weekend stay, or an airline headquartered in your city could offer round-trip tickets. No matter what the business has to offer make sure you’re thoughtful about how you make your auction item donation request.
  • Joint initiatives: A joint initiative is a collaboration between a nonprofit and a partner organization, in which both work to create a mutually beneficial event, program, or campaign. It involves pooling resources and networks to achieve a greater impact than either organization could achieve alone. 
  • Employee engagement programs: Employee engagement programs focus on involving employees of a business or organization in volunteer activities, fundraising efforts, or other activities that support your nonprofit’s mission.
  • Research collaborations: Nonprofits and businesses might partner together to research studies or projects related to their missions. For example, an animal welfare organization might partner with a dog boarding business to research the safest, most effective accommodations. 

After presenting a business with a partnership opportunity, gauge their interest and thank them for their consideration, regardless of their decision. That way, they will be left with a positive impression of your organization.

4. Demonstrate Impact

If a business agrees to be your partner, take notes throughout the partnership, making note of successes and areas of improvement. 

Then, in your outreach, explain the impact that the partnership has made on your nonprofit and the community as a whole. Share success stories, testimonials, or data that highlight the tangible outcomes of your programs or initiatives. This builds credibility and instills confidence in other potential business partners, showing them how their involvement will make a difference.

Remember, connecting with local businesses requires building meaningful relationships based on shared values and mutual benefits. By taking a strategic and personalized approach, your nonprofit can form valuable partnerships that amplify your impact and strengthen the communities you serve.

This guide will cover the top types of educational resources for nonprofit professionals.

Top Educational Resources for Nonprofit Professionals

Nonprofit professionals are used to wearing many hats while working for their organization—from serving as event planners to social media managers to volunteer coordinators. At times, however, nonprofit team members will encounter projects and tasks that they don’t have prior experience in handling. What do they do then?

While some recommend that nonprofits outsource specialized work, such as leveraging a marketing agency to take charge of creating collateral, not all organizations have the budget to do so. That’s where educational resources come in. These resources provide nonprofit professionals, such as yourself, with a lower-cost way to develop their skills and grow professionally.

In this guide, we’ll go over the most helpful resources for nonprofit professionals by discussing each of their unique benefits and drawbacks. Let’s get started!

This image lists three types of nonprofit educational resources: blog posts, books, and conferences, covered in more detail in the text below.

1. Blog Posts

In this age of technology, you likely look toward blog posts and other websites whenever you’re out of your element, including searching for new fundraising ideas or event planning tips. Blog posts are a top educational resource because they serve as a first stop for professionals seeking more information about specific nonprofit topics. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits and drawbacks of this resource:


Here are some of the benefits of blog posts as an educational resource:

  • Easily accessible. Blog posts are accessible to everyone through search engines such as Google or Bing. It’s super convenient for you to type in the right keywords and click on the relevant blog posts, empowering you to kickstart your learning journey.
  • Lively visuals. Authors of blogs often embed multimedia elements into their posts, such as video walk-throughs, resulting in a more engaging and academically enriching experience for the reader. For example, an all-text blog post describing how to apply for Google grants might be difficult to parse. But if it’s broken up with relevant images and videos, then the information becomes much easier to digest.
  • Cost-effective. For the most part, access to blog posts is free, making this option extremely cost-effective. This is extremely valuable for nonprofit professionals who may not have access to a learning budget or stipend.

Though blog posts have a variety of benefits for nonprofit professionals, they also have some drawbacks.


Here are some of the drawbacks of blog posts as an educational resource:

  • Questionable authority. Depending on which blog you’re looking at, it may be difficult to gauge the authority of the writer. Not everyone who writes nonprofit content is involved in the industry, making it crucial for you to vet blog authors and websites before you take their word as fact.
  • Varying depth. Blog posts may vary in quality and length even on the same blogroll. Many posts may cover surface-level topics such as fundraising, but may not dive more deeply into actionable tips your organization can take today. For example, a post could cover the benefits of hybrid fundraising events, but not how to organize a hybrid event.
  • Unstructured content. A blogroll will likely cover many different topics rather than go in-depth on a single topic. If you’re specifically interested in one topic, this resource’s format can hinder your learning, as you may need to access multiple blogs to gain the depth of knowledge you seek.

If you’re looking for a surface-level overview of a nonprofit topic, then blog posts are a great educational resource for you due to their accessible and cost-effective nature. However, if you’re looking for more robust educational materials, then consider one of the next resources.

2. Books

Elevate Nonprofit explains that books can impart a wealth of knowledge and inspire your organization’s fundraising strategy. They are an invaluable resource to learn new strategies and practices and glean insights from the past. However, like blog posts, they have their unique benefits and drawbacks.


Here are some of the benefits of books as an educational resource:

  • Depth of knowledge. Books usually thoroughly cover a single topic, allowing you to gain the depth of knowledge you seek. For example, if you’re researching how to boost event revenue, a book might cover common pitfalls, best practices, and even top event ideas for generating revenue.
  • Wide range of topics. Although books generally dive deeply into one subject, that doesn’t mean that you’re out of luck if you’re researching multiple subjects. There are millions of unique books out there on a variety of topics, making it easy for you to find one that suits your needs. Plus, books give you access to many different perspectives, as it’s common to read two books on the same topic with very different viewpoints.
  • Variety of formats. While you may be thinking of the traditional paperback or hardback, books come in a variety of formats to fit your needs. If you’re looking for a way to maximize the value of your commute time, for example, you could purchase audiobooks and listen to them as you drive.

There’s a reason why books are an enduring learning resource for all types of industries. However, they also come with their drawbacks.


Here are some of the drawbacks of books as an educational nonprofit resource:

  • Outdated information. Once a book is published, it could take months or years for new editions to come out. Depending on the age of the book, you may come across outdated information, making it difficult to use this resource to learn about new and trendy topics.
  • Difficult to find specific information. If you’re looking to learn about one specific topic, you might find that some books cover many miscellaneous subjects that are irrelevant to your nonprofit’s situation. This is especially true if you’re seeking information on a niche or specific topic.
  • Single perspective. Since most books have just one author, books often suffer from having a single perspective. Aside from personal biases, this can be an issue if the author does not have direct experience with your situation. For example, if you’re a small nonprofit, the advice of an author who has only worked in large organizations may not be applicable.

If you’re looking for a nonprofit educational resource on age-old topics such as starting fundraisers or appealing for donations, books are a great way to find the information you seek. However, if you’re seeking more specific advice or knowledge on trends that are just cropping up, then you may want to consider a different type of resource.

3. Conferences

Nonprofit conferences are large gatherings of nonprofit professionals and philanthropic-minded business professionals. They are an excellent way to gain knowledge, advance professional development, and acquire the training you need to excel in your field. Plus, they cover a wide range of key nonprofit areas to help your organization grow, from marketing to donor stewardship. Let’s learn more about the specific benefits and drawbacks of conferences.


Here are some of the benefits of attending a nonprofit conference:

  • Newest information. One of the greatest selling points of conferences is that they often cover the newest information and trends occurring in the industry. If you aim to stay up-to-date with cutting-edge best practices, conferences are a great place to gain that knowledge.
  • Networking. Another benefit of conferences that most other nonprofit educational resources don’t offer is networking. Conferences are a gathering of like-minded individuals, making them great opportunities to connect with other professionals who you might work with or ask for mentorship. Plus, Getting Attention advises to connect with business professionals as well, as these relationships can lead to future corporate sponsorships.
  • Capacity building. Capacity building is defined as improving your organization’s ability to serve your beneficiaries. This involves developing competencies and skills that make you and your nonprofit more effective and sustainable. Conferences offer workshops and panels that will point you and your nonprofit in the right direction.

What makes conferences such great educational resources is that it’s a concentrated learning experience—you receive tons of new knowledge that you can then bring back and apply to your nonprofit. However, that’s not to say that they don’t have their drawbacks.


Here are some of the drawbacks of conferences as an educational resource:

  • Expensive. Conferences are by far the most expensive educational resource in this article. From travel costs to ticket prices, attending a conference can quickly become unaffordable, making it difficult for professionals from smaller organizations to attend.
  • Stressful. Conferences are jam-packed with tons of activities, panels, and workshops. While that’s great for learning-focused professionals, it can also be very stressful to manage your schedule and plan out everything you want to experience. Plus, there might be event rescheduling or cancellations to contend with.
  • Implementing learning. After the conference is over and you return to normal life at your nonprofit, it can be difficult to implement the practices or strategies that you learned. There may be logistical challenges or even a lack of motivation, for example.

If you can afford it, attending conferences is a great way to expand your knowledge of the nonprofit industry and keep up to date with trends. However, if your budget is limited, that doesn’t mean that you’re unable to access the information conferences offer. Look out for conferences held in a hybrid or virtual format, as they drastically reduce costs by removing travel expenses.

Aside from these three, there are a variety of other nonprofit educational resources available to the curious professional, including webinars and podcasts. If, after reading this guide, you believe that none of these top types of resources are the best fit for you, don’t be afraid to do more research and seek out the knowledge you need. After all, you know what’s best for your personal development and what you need to better support your nonprofit’s beneficiaries!

In this guide, we’ll discuss the basics of volunteer grants and how these programs can benefit your nonprofit.

Volunteer Grants – Nonprofit Catalog

If you have a devoted volunteer base but haven’t heard of volunteer grants, you’re missing out on easy revenue! Corporate volunteer grants are an excellent way to supercharge your volunteer relationships, kickstart new corporate partnerships, and enhance your fundraising strategy.

Tapping into this resource is pretty simple when you know the basics. To help you get started, we’ll cover the essential components of these programs and provide some practical tips along the way. In no time, you’ll cultivate a lucrative volunteer grant strategy that helps you pursue your mission.

What Are Volunteer Grants?

Corporate volunteer grant programs are a type of corporate philanthropy in which companies make monetary contributions to nonprofits where their employees regularly volunteer. Some businesses pay per volunteer hour while others require employees to serve a minimum number of hours with an organization. Then, after a volunteer submits a grant request, the company will send a check to the nonprofit.

So, let’s say a company offers $100 for every 25 hours an employee serves a nonprofit. Once a devoted supporter volunteers those 25 hours, they can submit a request to their employer who will then send the donation.

This image illustrates the concept of volunteer grants. A company might donate $100 for every 25 hours an employee volunteers with a nonprofit.

Some companies also offer team volunteer grants as a way to encourage team-building and volunteerism in the communities where employees live and work. Crowd101’s corporate giving statistics page shows that 82% of companies report that their employees want to volunteer with their peers, making team volunteer grants a powerful engagement opportunity. When a business offers team grants, they often have additional requirements such as how many employees must volunteer together.

Benefits of Corporate Volunteer Grants

Volunteer grants are impactful programs because they benefit nonprofits, companies, and volunteers alike. Whether you’re making a case to your board of directors to pursue this opportunity or convincing a local business to launch a program, here are some key benefits you can share:

For Nonprofits

Through corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives like volunteer grants, nonprofits can:

  • Access more critical funding. Volunteer grants allow you to generate more revenue from supporters without having to solicit them for gifts. Your volunteers have already committed their time to your nonprofit. To earn more essential funds for your mission, all they need to do is check their eligibility and submit their hours to their employers.
  • Recruit and retain more volunteers. Knowing that their employers will amplify the impact of their support can inspire more people to dedicate their time and skills to your cause. Since 66% of volunteers indicate that making a difference in their community is their primary motivation for getting involved, the prospect of making an even greater difference can turn them into regular volunteers for your nonprofit.
  • Secure more donations. According to the Global Trends in Giving Report, 66% of donors volunteer around the world, with 73% donating to the nonprofits they volunteer with. Your volunteers have already demonstrated an investment in your cause. By retaining their support over time, you’ll increase the chances of converting them into donors as well.
  • Build more long-term partnerships with companies. If many of your volunteers work for the same company that offers volunteer grants, you might reach out and establish a mutually beneficial partnership with the company. This can pave the way for event sponsorships, collaborative cause marketing campaigns, and more.

Your nonprofit can obtain more volunteer grants by sharing these benefits, alongside basic instructions about the process, across multiple communication channels. By ensuring that supporters are aware of this impactful opportunity and practicing consistent volunteer appreciation, you’ll be able to unlock more funding over time.

For Companies

Corporate philanthropy has become a major priority among businesses around the world. By providing volunteer grant opportunities to employees, companies can:

  • Increase employee engagement. Many employees need more than a regular paycheck to feel invested in their roles. Nonprofits Source’s employee engagement guide lists CSR programs as a key way to increase employee loyalty and productivity. By giving them the chance to support causes they care about, companies can provide employees with a sense of purpose and fulfillment in the workplace. 
  • Recruit more top talent. Beyond competitive pay and employee benefits, CSR initiatives like volunteer grants can help companies stand out to talented job seekers. In fact, three out of four U.S. employees indicate that they want to work for a company that makes a positive impact on the world.
  • Boost their reputation. In today’s competitive business landscape, companies must do more than just make profits to be successful. To win the hearts of people in their communities, they must contribute to the well-being of society as a whole. Volunteer grants are one effective way for them to demonstrate this commitment to social good.
  • Attract more customers. Launching a volunteer grant program can enhance a company’s success and sustainability by bringing in new, socially conscious shoppers and turning them into loyal customers. After all, 77% of consumers want to purchase from companies with CSR initiatives.

By joining forces, nonprofits and companies can accomplish more of their goals, expend fewer resources, and leave a lasting impact on the world.

For Volunteers

By devoting their time to nonprofits and securing volunteer grants from their employers, volunteers can:

  • Generate more of an impact. Your nonprofit’s supporters have different preferences and capacities when it comes to getting involved in your cause. Volunteer grants empower them to make financial gifts to your nonprofit without having to spend their own money.
  • Achieve more personal fulfillment. Volunteering is an excellent way for people to find a sense of belonging and purpose in their lives. Considering that the current estimated value of each volunteer hour is $31.80, volunteer grants allow your supporters to amplify the impact of their contributions even more.
  • Tap into the benefits of volunteering. Your volunteers are busy people. Between their careers, hobbies, and personal commitments, it might be difficult to find time to volunteer. Volunteer grants can provide an added incentive to inspire more of your supporters to volunteer and experience all the benefits that come with it—from reducing stress to developing essential skills.

With more involved volunteers, your nonprofit will be well on its way to cultivating a strong, tight-knit community of supporters around your cause.

Common Guidelines for Volunteer Grant Programs

When laying out their volunteer grant programs, businesses typically set a few ground rules for participation. Your volunteer coordinator should be aware of the different types of requirements that companies commonly implement, such as:

  • Employee eligibility: This refers to an individual’s employment status at the company. For example, a company might offer volunteer grants for full-time, part-time, and retired employees.
  • Nonprofit restrictions: Some corporations will place restrictions on which types of nonprofits are eligible. In most cases, companies state that any 501(c)(3) nonprofit or educational institution is eligible.
  • Submission deadlines: Volunteers must typically submit a request by a certain date. Standard deadlines include the end of the calendar year or a set number of months after the individual volunteered.
  • Required hours: While most companies have a minimum hour requirement for eligibility, some pay by the hour.
  • Donation amount: This is the total grant amount that a company will donate to a nonprofit after the hours are completed. Guidelines may also include how many grants the company offers per employee each year.
  • Logging hours: Companies have different hour reporting requirements. They may require employees to fill out printed or electronic forms.

Corporate giving software can give you instant access to information on thousands of volunteer grant programs. You can embed a search tool where volunteers can research their companies, determine their eligibility, learn how to log their hours, and gain access to required forms.

How to Win A Volunteer Grant

With help from a corporate giving database, a volunteer can request a volunteer grant from their employer within minutes. Double the Donation’s corporate volunteer grant guide breaks it down into five easy steps. Here’s how it works:

This image summarizes the volunteer grant process, listed below.
  1. An individual volunteers with a nonprofit on a regular basis.
  2. The volunteer researches their eligibility for their employer’s program using a corporate giving database.
  3. If eligible, the volunteer fills out the required forms, either electronically or using a paper form.
  4. The company reviews the grant application and reaches out to the nonprofit to confirm the submitted information.
  5. If everything is in order, the company sends a check to the nonprofit.

It’s that simple! When it’s all said and done, make sure to reach out to thank your volunteers for all their hard work. Show that you appreciate them going above and beyond by submitting volunteer grant applications even after donating their time to your organization. By the end of it, you’ll drive greater volunteer satisfaction and inspire them to stick around for years to come.

Additional Resources

Nonprofit Catalog – Read up on more nonprofit essentials by exploring our Nonprofit Catalog.

The Ultimate Guide to Workplace Giving Platforms (+ Trends!) – Corporate giving goes beyond volunteer grant programs. Learn about other workplace giving initiatives and how software can make it easy to leverage these opportunities.

Nonprofit Fundraising Training: FAQs and 8 Top Resources – Is your team prepared to take advantage of fundraising opportunities like volunteer grants? Here are some training resources to help them develop their fundraising skills.

To understand how your grantmaking organization can award funds quickly during a crisis, explore the tips and strategies in this guide.

Crisis Grantmaking: How to Manage and Award Funds Quickly

Crises can strike communities and organizations at any moment. When a natural disaster occurs, nonprofits scramble to gather the resources needed to aid their constituents and get them on the road to recovery. Grantmaking organizations like yours provide the funding that powers these relief efforts.

Because grantmakers are so integral to the work nonprofits do during crises, it’s paramount that you have a way to award grants with urgency. In this guide, we’ll cover strategies and considerations to keep in mind when a crisis happens:

  • Use grant management tools.
  • Be flexible.
  • Proactively prepare for the next crisis.

To award timely grants during a crisis, your standard grantmaking process must be streamlined. To get started, we’ll cover how you can efficiently use grant management tools to carry out tasks like administrative oversight and budget management.

Use grant management tools.

Grant management technology aims to streamline the necessary yet time-consuming tasks involved in managing grants, such as practicing due diligence, balancing budgets, and following up with grantees. During a crisis, these tools can work overtime to help your organization handle community outreach and a sudden influx of applications.

Investing in its full-featured grants management solution is the logical next step for organizations already using Salesforce. Salesforce Grants Management has everything grantmakers need to oversee grant management, works seamlessly with other Salesforce tools, and helps grantmakers plan for special circumstances.

The Grants Management package offers the same features included in the Outbound Funds Module, which is used by any organization that awards funding as a part of its mission. According to Fíonta’s guide to grants management, Grants Management includes more specific features for grantmakers, such as:

  • Fully customizable application templates. Build a unique application process based on your organization’s values and philanthropic priorities. Additionally, you can create abbreviated versions of your standard application form for times of crisis and mark them for expedited review.
  • Tools that standardize due diligence tasks. Due diligence tasks, like confirming tax-exempt status, are essential to determining each applicant’s eligibility. If your organization does not have a clearly defined process for completing these tasks, they could hinder the grantmaking process. Grants Management allows you to set up action plans defining the necessary steps and documents that anyone reviewing applications must complete. This ensures that due diligence tasks are completed the same way across your team without additional communication.
  • Budget management tools. Keeping a close eye on your budget is crucial to ensuring you have the funding available to deliver the grants promised. Grants Management allows you to track the grants you’ve awarded against your organization’s budget in minutes, keeping the process fast even in times of crisis.

With technology that streamlines and automates administrative tasks, your organization can balance awarding funds quickly and efficiently while still following all necessary procedures.

Be flexible.

During a crisis, nonprofit organizations desperately need supplies, volunteers, and funding. In these situations, be flexible to prioritize getting funding to the right organizations as quickly as possible.

Your organization might opt for more flexible grant-seeking requirements during a crisis by:

  • Shortening your application
  • Offering unrestricted funding and general operating support
  • Fast-tracking approval processes by limiting administrative requirements
  • Temporarily relaxing follow-up procedures until the crisis has passed
  • Offering extensions on existing grants
  • Adjusting evaluation criteria and expectations for this time

As with other aspects of the grant management process, technology can help you make these changes quickly. For example, by integrating your website with your CRM, you can ensure applicants receive the most up-to-date information possible about your grant process and available funding. Doing so ensures that you make the application process as convenient, timely, and hassle-free as possible.

Proactively prepare for the next crisis.

Crises and their impact are indeed unpredictable. While this makes it challenging to pinpoint when a disaster might strike, you can prepare for it by being proactive. This approach allows you to develop a standardized grantmaking procedure that runs smoothly for grantmakers and grant-seekers.

Learn from past events and put a standardized crisis grantmaking procedure in place. As a part of these preparations, your organization should:

  • Determine adjusted guidelines and requirements. If your organization chooses to relax some of its guidelines during a crisis, decide how you will do so before the crisis. For example, under these special circumstances, you might not ask grant applicants to include a cover letter, a detailed budget breakdown, and their organizational background.
  • Plan its rapid response protocol. Application reviews and approvals need to be fast-tracked during these scenarios. Determine who will be responsible for each step in the review process and outline your adjusted procedures, so staff members understand how and why it deviates from the standard process.
  • Conduct risk assessments. While many crises, like natural disasters, are unpredictable, you can still determine levels of risk in advance. This will help you identify potential crises that could arise and develop plans for those scenarios. If you regularly award grants to nonprofits that offer aid in areas prone to flooding, your organization can closely monitor the weather, identify grantees whose constituents are likely to be by flooding, and proactively contact trusted long-time grantees who may need emergency funding.

Additionally, consider setting aside funds specifically reserved for crisis situations. Analyze data from past crises to determine how much funding is needed, and weigh this number against your organization’s budget. Setting aside this money in advance will save you from shifting funding around or adjusting your budget.

Once the dust has settled, take the time to reflect on your approach during the crisis. Identify strengths and weaknesses, ranging from your timeliness to how easy it was for nonprofits to find your grants. If possible, continue to support the affected organizations after the crisis to fuel their efforts as other donations trail off.

Shop With Purpose: A Guide to Online Shopping Fundraisers

Shop With Purpose: A Guide to Online Shopping Fundraisers

It’s no secret that online shopping is rapidly growing in popularity. Research shows that e-commerce sales generated more than $856 billion in revenue in 2022, and approximately 2.64 billion customers are expected to make at least one online purchase sometime in 2023.

So, what do these statistics have to do with you, a nonprofit professional? They mean that, in your search for innovative fundraising strategies to engage your organization’s supporters and boost your revenue generation, you should consider tapping into the power of online shopping!

In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know to get started with an online shopping fundraiser for your nonprofit. Here’s what we’ll cover:

With the right tools on your side, you can turn an online shopping fundraiser into a lucrative year-round campaign for your organization. Let’s dive in!

Online Shopping Fundraisers: An Overview

An online shopping fundraiser allows your supporters to contribute to your nonprofit by making everyday purchases from participating e-commerce businesses.

To make this fundraiser work, you’ll need to sign your organization up with an online shopping fundraiser program. When supporters use the program’s app to shop online, a percentage of their total sale will go directly to your nonprofit at no additional cost to you or the shopper.

It’s likely that you heard of (or even participated in) AmazonSmile, one of the best-known programs that ran on this model, before its 2023 discontinuation. However, there are a variety of alternatives to AmazonSmile that your nonprofit can still partner with to run your online shopping fundraiser. Plus, these programs often offer benefits that Amazon Smile didn’t, such as higher commission rates and more flexibility in their retailer options.

Benefits of Online Shopping Fundraisers

Online shopping fundraisers benefit both your nonprofit and its supporters. Let’s explore some of the advantages from both perspectives.

For Nonprofits

Some of the reasons why your organization should consider launching an online shopping fundraiser include:

  • It’s easy to run. Once your partner program’s experts walk you through a simple onboarding process, your fundraiser will basically run itself. Then, all you have to do is promote the campaign and track your results.
  • It provides unrestricted funding. Some of the funds your nonprofit receives have to be used for specific programs or projects according to your agreement with the donor or grantmaker. However, the contributions from your online shopping fundraiser can be put toward any area of your nonprofit’s budget that needs additional funding, including operating expenses.
  • It helps diversify your nonprofit’s revenue streams. According to Jitasa’s nonprofit financial management guide, having multiple funding sources allows your organization to achieve greater financial stability. Online shopping fundraisers can be run year-round, making them a great way to supplement your nonprofit’s other fundraising efforts.

Online shopping fundraisers are also completely free for your organization to launch, and they work for nonprofits of all sizes and in all verticals.

For Supporters

Supporters can also benefit from your nonprofit’s online shopping fundraisers in multiple ways, including the following:

  • It’s a no-ask sale. Most other fundraising campaigns that involve buying items, such as product fundraisers or branded merchandise sales, require supporters to go out of their way to give to your organization. Online shopping fundraisers, on the other hand, allow supporters to contribute by purchasing items they were likely going to buy anyway, so they don’t have to spend any additional money to support your nonprofit.
  • It’s highly flexible. As long as the program you partner with has access to a wide network of retailers, supporters will have lots of options when it comes to shopping for your cause.
  • It allows them to shop more ethically. Shoppers can feel good about their online purchases when they know that they’re supporting an organization that makes a difference in their community at the same time.

Participating in an online shopping fundraiser can also be a great entry point for supporters to get involved with your nonprofit. If you review your fundraising data and notice that a brand-new supporter has just shopped for your cause, reach out to them with a welcome email series providing more information about your organization’s work and other ways for them to engage in it.

How to Launch an Online Shopping Fundraiser

According to ShopRaise’s guide to shopping for a cause, your organization can start its own online shopping fundraiser in just three easy steps. Let’s walk through the process in more detail.

1. Partner With a Fundraising Program

As stated previously, the first thing you need to do to launch your online shopping fundraiser is find a dedicated platform to launch your campaign. Look for a program that not only has connections to a wide network of retailers but will also handle all business negotiations for you. Additionally, make sure to ask about their commission rates and whether they can scale with your organization.

Once you’re onboarded with the program and they’ve created a branded landing page for your nonprofit, you’re ready to start spreading the word about your fundraiser to your supporters!

2. Market Your Fundraiser

Marketing is essential for a successful online shopping fundraiser, and leveraging multiple communication methods will allow you to reach as many supporters as possible. Provide instructions for how to participate in your fundraiser and reminders to continue shopping for your cause via the following channels:

The program you partner with can sometimes help with this step by creating email templates, flyer designs, and website banners advertising your fundraiser, all featuring your organization’s logo and brand colors.

3. Track Your Results

Through your online shopping fundraiser platform, you’ll be able to view real-time data on your nonprofit’s campaign. Analyzing this information serves two main purposes. First, you can hone your marketing strategy over time to prioritize the channels that drive the most conversions.

Second, you can recognize your top supporters individually. Send them personalized thank-you messages with their names and fundraising totals, and remind them to keep up the good work in shopping for your cause. To protect shoppers’ privacy, these two pieces of information are all your organization will be able to see—only the supporter will know exactly what items they purchased.

Online shopping fundraisers combine two societal trends—e-commerce and digital fundraising—to provide year-round funding for your organization. While it’s important to maintain your usual fundraising pushes, such as events and your year-end giving campaign, supplementing these efforts with online shopping makes it even more likely that your nonprofit will bring in the revenue it needs to further its mission.

Read this guide to be inspired by these sports-themed fundraising ideas.

4 Fundamental Tips for Hosting a Sports-Themed Fundraiser

Sports have a way of bringing people together that’s unlike anything else. People also tend to be passionate about sports, so when you combine that passion with a good cause, you have a winning option for a fundraising event. Whether you’re raising money for a school team, your nonprofit’s general fund, a new outreach initiative, or other funding need, these tips for a sports-themed fundraising event will engage your community and get folks competing for a good cause.

Tip 1: Be Strategic About the Sport You Choose

The possibilities for a sports-themed event are endless, you’ll want to be strategic when choosing the focus of your sports-related event. The key is understanding your audience and the sport that they’ll best respond to. You don’t necessarily have to limit yourself to a physical sport either—esports, fantasy teams, or bracket challenges are also possibilities. Some popular charity sports events include:

  • Charity golf tournament
  • Volleyball tournament
  • Soccer shootout
  • Softball or baseball tournament
  • 3-on-3 basketball tournament
  • Walkathon or bikeathon
  • Fun run or walk
  • Dodgeball tournament
  • Mini-March Madness bracket challenge
  • Swim-a-thon
  • Online e-sports tournament

When choosing the sport that will work best for your organization or audience, you might first conduct a quick survey to garner feedback from your donors and constituents to see what interests them. Next, take the following considerations into account as you start planning:

  • Time of year. If your sport is played outdoors, you’ll need to choose a time of year with favorable weather in your area. If you’re hoping to involve families, be sure the event doesn’t overlap with the school day.
  • Budget. Some sports-related events come with a fair amount of overhead, including facility rental, signage, trophies or awards, food and beverage, advertising, and equipment rental. Create a loose budget so you have an idea of how much you’ll need to spend to get the event off the ground.
  • Facility availability. Research host facilities in your area and check their availability. You might ask the facility about the days and times of year they recommend to maximize participation.
  • Donor preferences. Use the results of your surveys and informal conversations with your audience to see what option is the most appealing (and they’re most likely to support with their participation). 
  • Relevance to your cause. Consider how the type of event relates to or can be connected to your mission in some way. This helps participants better understand what they’re helping raise money for. 

Tip 2: Incorporate Revenue-Boost Elements

Think about how you’ll generate revenue from your event. Participant registration fees, spectator tickets, sponsorships, and donation appeals are common, base revenue sources, but you’ll want to think broader and find other ways to boost fundraising. These revenue boosters often add additional fun and excitement to the event, making registrants eager to participate. GolfStatus recommends the following ideas to raise more dollars from your event:

  • Sport-specific contests. Add one or more contests that are specific to the sport, such as a hole-in-one or putting contest for a charity golf tournament or a three-point shot contest for a basketball tournament. Participants love testing their skill (or luck!) for the chance to win a prize.
  • Live or silent auctions. Seek donations for the items you’ll include in your auction to raise even more money. Consider using a mobile bidding platform so folks can make bids during the sporting event itself.
  • Raffles. Much like auction items, you can boost fundraising by selling raffle tickets for donated prizes. Make it easy for folks to buy raffle tickets when they register, when they check in for the event, and throughout the event.
  • Food and drink tickets. Work with a sponsor to donate food and beverages and sell tickets to attendees. Be sure to check with the host facility on any restrictions or regulations about outside food and drink.
  • Mini-games. Have fun and get creative in creating mini-games or contests to add to your event! Look for ways to incorporate your nonprofit’s cause in the games to help participants make a tangible connection to your cause. For example, if your nonprofit helps build homes for underprivileged families, you could hold a putting contest using building tools like sledgehammers or levels. 

Tip 3: Sell Sponsorships & Create Partnerships

Sponsorships are an incredibly powerful component of fundraising events. They provide a sizable portion of the event’s income, offset hard costs, add credibility to the event and your organization, and help forge partnerships with businesses for additional support down the road. Sports-focused events are particularly appealing to prospective sponsors—sponsorships are a well-known part of sports culture and provide a ton of brand exposure and lift to the sponsoring business while raising dollars for your nonprofit.

  • Make a list of event costs. Look at all the hard costs associated with the event, from facility rental, signage, and meals to entertainment, games, and attendee gifts, and sell sponsorships to cover them. 
  • Create sponsorship levels and packages. Offering different sponsorship levels allows more businesses to get involved and support your event at a dollar amount that fits into their marketing or charitable budgets.
  • Reach out to past supporters. Start with local businesses who have supported you in some way in the past, whether it was for another fundraising event or general support for your organization.
  • Use your networks. Tap into your planning team, staff, or board of directors to see who might have contacts at area businesses to make a short list of potential sponsors to go after.
  • Create personalized pitches and sponsorships. Work with businesses to determine what their goals are for sponsoring your event and find ways to help them get the biggest ROI. That might mean creating a custom sponsorship and corresponding pitch for some sponsors, but both you and the business will end up meeting your goals.
  • Outline the benefits of corporate philanthropy. When you communicate with potential sponsors, be sure to highlight how corporate philanthropy benefits your sponsors just as much as it does your event.

Once the event is over, it’s crucial to follow up with sponsors to thank them for their support and continue to cultivate the relationship for broader organizational support.

Tip 4: Use Technology to Manage Your Event and its Data

The information you collect as part of your fundraising event is powerful and paints a picture of who is supporting you through sports-related events, your organization’s ROI fundraiser, and where you should focus your event fundraising in the future. Nonprofit event planners should make data collection and management a priority and find ways to streamline and simplify its collection and management. Some fundraising metrics to monitor include:

  • Event signups (teams and individual participants and spectators)
  • Attendee conversion rate 
  • Total dollars raised
  • Average donation amount
  • Cost per participant
  • Attendee retention rate
  • Volunteer signup and retention rate

Collecting this important information is easier than you might think with event management software tailored for nonprofit needs. Look for platforms that are designed specifically for the sport your event is leveraging. For instance, if you’re hosting a charity golf fundraiser, you might consider using software with golf tournament planning and execution in mind.

Final Thoughts

These tips will set you up for success if you’re considering a sports-related fundraising event. Start by determining which sport you’ll focus on, look for ways to boost revenue, create and sell sponsorships, and track metrics. With a little preparation and data-driven thinking, your fundraiser can be a hole-in-one and make everyone feel like winners!

This image shows the title of this post — 6 Tips to Create an Ambassador Program for Your Nonprofit — next to cartoon people representing nonprofit ambassadors.

6 Tips to Create an Ambassador Program for Your Nonprofit

The nonprofit marketing space isn’t as straightforward as it once was. It’s easier than ever for nonprofits to connect with their supporters, but that also means there’s a lot of competition for donors’ attention.

One effective way to make your organization stand out is to create an ambassador program. Ambassadors can take the reins during fundraising or marketing campaigns, promoting your organization to their personal networks. This form of peer-to-peer marketing is highly compelling because people are more likely to support a cause that’s recommended by someone they know and trust.  

To ensure your ambassador program gets up and running quickly and yields a high return on investment, we’ll explore these top tips: 

  1. Identify the right recruits.
  2. Brand your ambassador program.
  3. Create clear roles and expectations for ambassadors.
  4. Empower ambassadors with training and resources. 
  5. Promote recognition and a sense of community. 
  6. Evaluate and adapt your program as needed. 

Supporters often want more than just to help promote your nonprofit’s cause — they want to feel like members of your community. An ambassador program gives them an outlet to express their passion for your mission and share their enthusiasm with others. 

1. Identify the right recruits.

Effective nonprofit influencers can be found almost anywhere. The best recruits for your ambassador program will all share one trait in common: a deep sense of commitment to your cause. 

Search for individuals who have a strong existing relationship with your organization and are particularly vocal about their love for your cause. Potential ambassadors could be: 

  • Donors 
  • Volunteers
  • Peer-to-peer fundraisers
  • Beneficiaries of your programs
  • Social media followers 

Use software solutions like your donor management system and volunteer management platform to identify long-time, highly engaged supporters. Filter your database by length of involvement or number of interactions to find your top supporters.

Then, personally reach out to these individuals with an invitation to join your ambassador program. Reference their past involvement to explain why you’re reaching out. For example, you might say: “Eliza, we are so excited to invite you to join our new ambassador program. Your passionate volunteer involvement and past peer-to-peer fundraising experience make you a perfect fit for our new program.”

2. Brand your ambassador program.

You’ll have an easier time bringing recruits on board when your ambassador program looks official and professional. Create an eye-catching brand for your program by thinking through the program’s: 

  • Name
  • Logo 
  • Tagline
  • Colors

Incorporate these brand elements into your promotional materials, such as your social media posts and personal emails to potential participants. 

For example, here’s a flyer for a fictional environmental nonprofit ambassador program with a cohesive brand:

This image shows a flyer representing a fictional “Wildlife Warriors” ambassador program. It’s encouraging people to get involved by scanning a QR code.

This flyer features the organization’s brand name, logo, and a QR code that potential participants can scan for more information.

You can also boost the sense of community by creating branded merchandise for your program, such as hats, T-shirts, or name tags. Offering new ambassadors matching items will help them feel like members of an exclusive team.

3. Create clear roles and expectations for ambassadors.

Ultimately, your ambassador program shouldn’t just provide new engagement opportunities for supporters — it should also tangibly support your marketing and fundraising efforts. 

Take the following steps to ensure your ambassador program bolsters your existing strategies: 

  • Set goals for your ambassadors internally. Determine the metrics you will track to assess your ambassador program’s effectiveness. For instance, you may track key performance indicators like peer-to-peer fundraising participation rates, donations that can be attributed to ambassadors’ influence, or social media engagement rates. 
  • Define clear roles and responsibilities. For example, will ambassadors promote your peer-to-peer fundraisers? Will they share social media content? Will they speak on your behalf at events? All of the above may be possible. Delineate clear roles so that potential participants understand what will be expected of them. 
  • Establish guidelines for program membership. Create clear regulations that ambassadors should follow when acting on behalf of your cause. For example, you might establish rules regarding the type of content ambassadors can share on behalf of your organization, such as pre-approved images or messages. 

When potential ambassadors understand what your program entails, you can narrow down your recruit list to just individuals who feel comfortable with the role expectations. And with clear metrics to guide your program, you can determine whether it’s a worthwhile use of your time and resources. 

4. Empower ambassadors with training and resources. 

Invite your new ambassadors to a training session to help them get up and running in their new roles. Depending on how spread out your ambassadors are, you might host a video or in-person meeting. Reiterate the role expectations and let ambassadors get to know one another with some icebreaker activities. 

Also, craft a training manual for ambassadors to follow while promoting your organization. Your manual should include your brand guidelines and ambassador program regulations. You should also include marketing materials that ambassadors can use in their promotional efforts, such as: 

  • Personalized donation page linksGive each ambassador a personalized donation page link with a custom URL. You can even let them personalize the page with information about their connection to your cause and photos of themselves participating in your events or volunteer opportunities. 
  • Custom graphics. Create branded graphics that ambassadors can use in their promotional materials, such as fundraising thermometers or infographics. You can use a tool such as the Bloomerang fundraising thermometer generator to quickly create a graphic with your nonprofit’s brand colors. 
  • Messaging guidelines. Provide ambassadors with a variety of messages they can use in social media posts or emails. Make sure they’re clear about your nonprofit’s tone and brand voice. For example, you might advise them to strike a friendly, approachable tone in their social media posts.

Let ambassadors know that they can come to you at any time with questions or concerns. You may even set up a mentorship or buddy program within your ambassador group to ensure each participant has at least one peer they can turn to for support. 

5. Promote recognition and a sense of community. 

Fostering a strong community among your ambassadors can encourage program retention. Plus, when ambassadors have fun supporting your mission and feel engaged in your cause, their promotional efforts will be much more genuine. 

Pull from your donor recognition playbook to develop an appreciation approach for your ambassador program. Show your gratitude by: 

  • Offering ambassadors-only communication avenues, such as a Facebook group or group chat
  • Publicly recognizing ambassadors on social media and within blog posts
  • Sending thank-you gifts and personalized gratitude messages
  • Sharing wins with ambassadors, such as donation increases, to highlight their impact

Celebrate your ambassadors’ accomplishments through meet-ups and events such as a happy hour or picnic. You can even host an award ceremony to honor your most successful ambassadors and thank them for their hard work. 

6. Evaluate and adapt your program as needed. 

As your ambassador program gets underway, you might find that certain strategies aren’t working out as expected. Remain flexible and adjust your program when necessary to continue offering a high-quality experience to participants and ensure that your program effectively supports your nonprofit. 

Continuously evaluate your program by taking the following steps: 

  • Survey ambassadors to ask for their feedback on your program. Ask questions about their level of satisfaction with the program, any suggestions they have for improving the program, and areas where they may need more support. Highlight any trends in their responses and incorporate their feedback as applicable. 
  • Track metrics to assess progress made toward your goals. Keep an eye on the key performance indicators you identified during the planning process. Note any drastic increases or decreases in your metrics, investigate potential causes, and adjust your approach accordingly. 

Supporting your ambassadors every step of the way is one of the most effective ways to ensure a high ROI for your program. Take ambassadors’ feedback seriously to ensure you’re continuing to meet their needs and providing a positive experience.

Once your ambassador program gets up and running, it can be a powerful addition to your marketing strategy. Your ambassadors can help you connect with new potential donors and spread awareness of your mission more effectively. With these tips, you’ll make sure they have everything they need to perform their roles at a high level.

4 Online Fundraising Campaign Ideas to Boost Your Reach

4 Online Fundraising Campaign Ideas to Boost Your Reach

These days, almost everything has gone digital—even fundraising. Hosting your fundraising campaign online is beneficial not only for the existing donors in your community, but also for reaching new donors. An online campaign can expand your reach beyond your community, acting as an innovative way to engage supporters from across the country and even the world. 

To get started, you’ll need a compelling fundraising campaign idea that aligns with your nonprofit’s goals and meets your unique audience’s interests and motivations. Not sure where to begin? Explore our roundup of the top online fundraising ideas guaranteed to spur donations and help you achieve your fundraising goals:

Host a combination of these campaigns or use them as inspiration to plan a unique online fundraiser at any point of the year. Let’s dive in! 

Peer-to-Peer Fundraiser 

Peer-to-peer fundraising is a fun and engaging way to get your supporters directly involved in the fundraising process. During a peer-to-peer fundraiser, you’ll hand over the fundraising reins to your most loyal supporters, empowering them to create their own fundraising pages. By tapping their personal networks to help meet their fundraising goals, your supporters will effectively introduce you to brand new donors, boosting your donor acquisition rate

To maximize the success of your online fundraising campaign, the OneCause guide to peer-to-peer fundraising best practices recommends leveraging these best practices: 

  • Recruit supporters to help: Market your peer-to-peer campaign online using channels like your website, social media, and email to help promote this opportunity and pique your existing supporters’ interest. You can also reach out to well-connected supporters, like board members and major donors, to serve as ambassadors and lend a helping hand in fundraising. 
  • Provide training and instructions: Consider hosting an online training session to go over peer-to-peer fundraising best practices and how to create a personal fundraising page. You can also consolidate these instructions in a digital guidebook that can be accessed at any time. Make sure you have a point-person to field any supporter questions and walk them through best practices if they need additional advice. 
  • Pair your campaign with exciting events: Consider hosting your peer-to-peer fundraiser alongside an event to increase engagement, such as a walk-a-thon, an online silent auction, or a livestreamed panel with members of your team who can discuss your cause in detail.  

Once your fundraiser concludes, remember to thank all of your peer-to-peer fundraisers who helped make it happen. A handwritten thank-you note or shout-out on social media can go a long way in helping your supporters feel appreciated and eager to champion your cause again in the future. 

Matching Gift Campaign 

According to 360MatchPro’s guide to corporate philanthropy, a matching gift campaign allows your nonprofit to double the impact of donors’ gifts with the help of corporate support. In a matching gift campaign, corporate donors will match gifts during a certain period of time. For example, if a donor gave $100 to your nonprofit, a corporate sponsor might match this at a 1:1 ratio, resulting in $200 for your nonprofit.  

To get started with matching gifts, follow these steps: 

  • Research companies with similar values and interests: Research local businesses and ask your board members and staff for references of companies who may be interested. Even if they say no to providing a matching gift, they may be a valuable resource to tap into for future fundraisers, such as sponsorship opportunities or silent auction item procurement.  
  • Create a corporate sponsorship proposal: Create a letter that pitches a partnership, outlines what type of support you’re seeking (such as matching at a 1:1 or 2:1 ratio), and when you hope to host a matching gift campaign. You’ll also need to explain how the gift matching will help bring your nonprofit closer to reaching its goals and how your corporate partner will benefit from this arrangement. For instance, you might promote their company in your marketing materials to help expand their reach in exchange for financial support. 
  • Follow up and express appreciation: At the end of your matching gift campaign, let your corporate partner know how much you raised and how the funds will be used to further your mission. Expressing gratitude can help you secure their support again in the future. 

Make sure to promote your matching gift campaign widely and well in advance so supporters know when it’s happening and how they can get involved.  

Text-to-Give Campaign 

A text-to-give campaign is one of the easiest ways to raise money online. It enables donors to give donations at any time on their own devices. Supporters simply submit donations right from their phones, making the donation process inherently convenient, simple, and rewarding.  

You can use text-to-give donation channels for everyday fundraising, not just during an event. Using it is easy—all your supporters need is a specific keyword and the short- or long-code that they’ll text (which should be provided by your text-to-give solution). This will automatically take mobile donors to your nonprofit’s donation page.  

Be sure to find a good software solution that can support virtual transactions and customizations specific to your nonprofit. Specifically, look for a text-to-give solution that offers features like: 

  • Gamification tools to inspire giving, including a scoreboard 
  • Automated email receipts 
  • Flexible payment options 
  • Donor data collection and automated reports

On top of having the right fundraising technology, you also need to make sure you’re doing everything possible to build up your contact list. Promote your text-to-give campaign widely to encourage all your supporters to opt-in. A multichannel marketing plan can help you put your text-to-give campaign at the forefront of supporters’ minds, so consider generating content related to text-to-give on your social media, website, and email newsletters. 

Crowdfunding Campaign 

If you’re looking for a campaign that will make a big impact without asking your donors to empty their wallets, a crowdfunding campaign might be right for you. A crowdfunding campaign raises smaller amounts of revenue from a large pool of donors—think $5 per person. If you ask a group of 100 donors to give that much, you will walk away with a hefty donation, and your donors won’t feel fatigued. 

Most crowdfunding campaigns happen online, so you’ll need to establish a strong digital presence for your fundraiser. Consider creating a fundraising microsite with the following elements: 

  • Embedded donation form with a simple donation process and limited prompts
  • Your nonprofit’s branding
  • Storytelling that explains how the donations will be used, including emotionally compelling visuals
  • Social sharing features so supporters can promote your microsite among their personal networks

After your crowdfunding campaign wraps up, be sure to show your appreciation to all of your participating donors and share how the donations will be used. By cultivating relationships with these donors, you can increase the likelihood that they’ll continue to come back and donate to your organization again and again! 

Wrapping Up 

As you think through which fundraising idea makes the most sense for your organization, consider your audience and what will excite them the most to give. Then, channel that idea into a well-designed online campaign that will help you spread awareness and bring in more funds.  

Before you dive into your new campaign, make sure you’re working with the best fundraising technology so you can run your online campaign seamlessly. An all-in-one fundraising platform will provide your nonprofit with everything you need to succeed, whether you’re hosting an in-person, online, or hybrid campaign. Happy fundraising! 

In this guide, we'll explain how to optimize a Google Grant account in 7 easy steps.

How to Optimize a Google Grant Account in 7 Easy Steps

The Google Ad Grant is an invaluable tool for reaching potential donors and supporters online. While receiving the grant and setting up your account is a great first step, it takes more work to leverage the full potential of your free ad spend.

For the best results, you need to maintain and optimize your account. Here are seven steps to get started:

Whether you’re a seasoned digital marketer or a nonprofit professional new to Google Ad Grants, these insights will help you improve your online visibility, attract more donors and volunteers, and make a greater impact in the communities you serve.

Looking to optimize your Google Grant account? Click here to partner with our recommended agency, Getting Attention.

Before diving into the seven strategies for optimizing a Google Grant account, let’s answer some frequently asked questions.

What is a Google Grant Account?

The Google Ad Grant provides eligible nonprofits with $10,000 worth of in-kind advertising on Google Search each month, helping them reach a wider audience and connect with more potential supporters online.

After applying for the grant and being accepted into the program, nonprofits receive an account through which they can create and display ads on Google without the need to make any payments.

The Importance of Optimizing a Google Grant Account

If you want to make the most of $10,000 in free ad spend per month, you need to be willing to adapt and make improvements on an ongoing basis. Here are a few reasons why optimizing a Google Grant account is important:

  • Improved ad performance: Optimization techniques, such as keyword research, ad copy testing, and audience targeting, will help your ads appear in relevant searches and attract clicks.
  • Maximum impact: By optimizing your Google Grant account, you can ensure that your ads reach the right audience and attract engaged users who are interested in your nonprofit’s mission and services. This, in turn, can lead to increased donations, volunteer sign-ups, and support for your cause.
  • Compliance with Google’s requirements: Google has specific requirements and guidelines for participating in the Google Ad Grant program. Failure to meet these requirements can result in account suspension, making optimization crucial to maintaining eligibility.

Remember, even with the Google Ad Grant, your nonprofit is competing with paid advertisers for ad space. Optimization helps level the playing field, allowing you to stand out and succeed in the highly competitive digital advertising landscape.

7 Steps to Optimize Your Google Grant Account

Now that you understand the importance of optimizing a Google Grant account, let’s explain how to actually do it!

1. Partner with a qualified Google Ad Grants agency.

Without prior experience, optimizing a Google Grant Account can be a daunting task. Thankfully, there are Google Ad Grants agencies that provide valuable expertise and insight into the process.

Here are just a few areas of our recommended agency, Getting Attention’s expertise:

  • Account setup: Getting Attention assists nonprofits in setting up their Google Ad Grants account correctly, ensuring compliance with all program policies and eligibility requirements.
  • Google Grant reactivation: If your account lapses or is disabled, Getting Attention will get your Google Ad Grant reactivated in no time, so you can continue doing the work that matters.
  • Keyword research: Getting Attention conducts thorough keyword research to identify relevant and high-impact keywords aligned with your mission and goals.
  • Campaign monitoring: The Getting Attention team will regularly monitor the performance of ad campaigns, identify areas for improvement, and make data-driven optimizations to enhance results.

By working with an agency like Getting Attention, you can leverage the expertise of professionals who specialize in mission-driven marketing and digital advertising. This partnership will help your nonprofit create more impactful ad campaigns and attract support for your cause.

For more information on the benefits of working with a Google Ad Grant agency, watch this video:

2. Conduct regular keyword research.

Keyword research helps nonprofits understand which search terms and phrases are most frequently used by their target audience and allows them to optimize their ad campaigns accordingly. By regularly conducting keyword research, you ensure that your online content is optimized for the search terms and phrases that are most relevant to your cause.

Keep these tips in mind as you choose your keywords:

  • Understand your nonprofit’s goals. Start by clarifying your nonprofit’s advertising goals. Determine what specific actions you want users to take when they visit your website. For example, do you want them to donate, sign up for a newsletter, volunteer, or learn more about your programs? Understanding your goals will help you identify the most relevant keywords to target.
  • Brainstorm relevant keywords. Consider what potential supporters might search for when looking for organizations like yours and compile a list of relevant keywords. Include general keywords as well as specific terms that align with your goals. For instance, if you run an animal shelter, you might target the keywords “pet adoption” and “how to adopt a rescue dog.”
  • Use Google’s Keyword Planner. Google’s Keyword Planner is a free tool within Google Ads that helps you find relevant keywords and get insights into their search volume and competition. Enter your list of keywords into the Keyword Planner to see how frequently they are searched and get suggestions for other related keywords.

It’s also important to update the negative keywords that you want to exclude from triggering your ads. For example, if your nonprofit focuses on environmental conservation, you may want to add “hunting” or “pollution” as negative keywords to ensure your ads are shown only to the most relevant audiences.

3. Create well-structured ad groups.

Google Ad Groups are a way of organizing ads within your account. An ad group typically contains a set of ads that share similar targets, such as keywords, locations, or devices.

This diagram illustrates the required Google Ad Grant account structure.

Well-defined ad groups allow for better targeting, ensuring that the right messaging is delivered to the right people.

Here’s an example of how a marine conservation nonprofit might organize ads according to the two different programs they offer:

Ad Group 1: “Marine Wildlife Conservation”
Keywords: Marine wildlife conservation, ocean conservation, marine species protection
Ad Copy: “Help Protect Marine Wildlife. Support Our Ocean Conservation Efforts Today!”

Ad Group 2: “Beach Cleanup Volunteers”
Keywords: Beach cleanup, ocean cleanup volunteer, coastal cleanup
Ad Copy: “Join Our Beach Cleanup Volunteers. Make a Difference for Our Oceans.”

Continuously review and refine your keyword list for each ad group. Add new relevant keywords and remove irrelevant or low-performing ones.

4. Write compelling ad copy.

Well-crafted ad copy encourages users to click on the ad to learn more about your organization. To maximize your click-through rate (CTR), take these steps:

  • Craft compelling headlines. Write attention-grabbing headlines that are concise, clear, and highlight the unique value proposition of your nonprofit.
  • Use relevant keywords. Incorporate relevant keywords into your ad copy, especially in the headline and description. When users see the keywords they searched for in your ad, it increases the ad’s relevance, making them more likely to click.
  • Include a strong call-to-action (CTA). Include a clear and persuasive CTA that encourages users to take the desired action. Use verbs to prompt action, such as “Donate Now,” “Volunteer Today,” or “Learn More.”

If you’re in need of inspiration, review other top-ranking ads to see what they’re doing right.

For instance, let’s say you’re trying to target keywords related to food insecurity. Do a quick Google search to see what’s ranking number #1 for these queries:

This screenshot of a SERP shows the top ranking headlines for the search term "how to fight food insecurity" and is an example of how to optimize a Google Grant account.

Then, craft your ad copy with these top-ranking ads in mind, possibly emulating those popular “How to” statements in the headline.

5. Establish a landing page strategy.

Landing pages that you link in your ads should be designed to convert visitors into donors, volunteers, or supporters. For the best results, ensure that your landing pages are:

  • Relevant: The content and messaging on the landing page should directly align with the ad copy and the user’s search intent. Make sure visitors receive the information they’re looking for after clicking on the ad.
  • Mobile-friendly: Given the prevalence of mobile users, it’s crucial to have a mobile-friendly landing page. Ensure that the page is responsive and displays correctly on various screen sizes.
  • Visually appealing: The landing page should feature design and branding elements that reinforce your nonprofit’s identity and create a cohesive user experience. This includes using your organization’s logo, typography, and color scheme to establish brand recognition.

Conduct A/B testing (also known as split testing) on your landing pages to identify which elements resonate best with your audience. Continuously re-test and optimize these elements over time to improve the page’s performance.

6. Use conversion tracking.

Google Ads conversion tracking allows advertisers to measure the effectiveness of their ad campaigns by tracking specific actions that users take after clicking on their ads. Not only is setting up conversion tracking beneficial to your ad performance, but it’s also a requirement of the Google Ad Grant. Here’s how it works:

  • Advertisers define the specific actions they want to track as conversions. This could be completing a donation, filling out a contact form, signing up for a newsletter, or any other valuable action that aligns with the campaign’s objectives.
  • Once the conversion actions are defined, Google Ads generates a unique snippet of code called a “conversion tag” or “tracking pixel” for each conversion action. This code needs to be placed on the relevant web page or confirmation page that users see after completing the desired action (i.e., the “thank you” page after a successful donation).
  • When a user clicks on an ad and performs the desired action on the website, such as donating, the conversion tag on the confirmation page is triggered.
  • The triggered conversion tag sends data back to Google Ads, indicating that the conversion action has been completed. Google Ads then associates this data with the specific ad click that led to the conversion.

In the Google Ads dashboard, your team can view conversion data, including the number of conversions, conversion rate, and cost per conversion. Armed with that data, evaluate the performance of your campaigns and identify which ads are driving the most valuable actions.

7. Stay up-to-date on Google Ad Grant policies.

The main policies of the Google Ad Grant program include maintaining a minimum 5% click-through rate (CTR) across the account, adhering to a maximum cost-per-click (CPC) bid limit of $2, and using only text-based ads without images or videos. Nonprofits must also comply with Google’s website policy, ensuring transparency and relevance in their ad campaigns and website content.

Since these policies are subject to change, it’s important to stay informed. To keep up with Google Ad Grant policies and maintain compliance, follow these steps:

  • Visit the Google Ad Grants website. Regularly check the official Google Ad Grants website for the most up-to-date information on program policies, eligibility requirements, and guidelines.
  • Subscribe to certified Google Ad Grant newsletters. Sign up for newsletters to receive updates, announcements, and insights directly from Google.
  • Follow Google Ads and Google for Nonprofits on social media. Follow Google Ads and Google for Nonprofits on social media platforms like LinkedIn. They often share important updates and news about the Ad Grant program.

Set regular calendar reminders to check for policy updates and review your Google Ad Grant account’s compliance.

A Final Note About Optimizing Your Google Grant Account

Although optimizing a Google Ad Grant account requires consistent time and effort, it will ultimately lead to increased visibility for your nonprofit.

If you’re still not sure where to start, remember there are Google Ad Grant agencies like Getting Attention that will work alongside your nonprofit to create a digital advertising strategy that aligns with your goals.

For more information on Google Ad Grants, check out these additional resources:

Ready to make the most of your $10,000 a month in free ad spend? Click here to partner with our recommended agency, Getting Attention.