Beyond Foundation Funding: Revenue-Generating Strategies for Sustainable Social Change

With more competition and fewer resources available, social change organizations need to find ways to grow and diversify their funding without abandoning their missions and values.

From 2011 and 2013, the RCLA partnered with the Mertz Gilmore Foundation to explore the efficacy of creative fundraising and revenue-generation strategies in sustaining nonprofits.

The Program

This project explored revenue generation from the perspectives of social change organizations, funders, and technical assistance (TA) providers.

In order to maximize the response from social change organizations, funders, and TA, this research deployed a multiple-modal research design in which researchers:

  • Identified different sources of emerging practices of financial sustainability.
  • Distributed a national survey to nonprofits, funders and technical assistance providers.
  • Conducted interviews with representatives of these three perspectives.
  • Developed an exhaustive review of academic literature on fundraising with an emphasis on social change organizations.

Evaluating the efficacy of membership dues, donor practices, events, social media and technology, collaborative fundraising practices, and corporate relationships, results show how innovative approaches adapted traditional fundraising methods for the needs of social justice work.

The final report “Beyond Foundation Funding: Revenue-Generating Strategies for Sustainable Social Change”, shares the projects findings novel fundraising and revenue-generating practices.