How to Raise Funds to Start a Think Tank Institute

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Think tanks conduct research and policy analysis in a variety of fields related to the public good, including health care, the economy, the environment and safety. Staffed by policy experts, they often maintain a strong media presence and are involved in advising decision makers on the merits of a particular course of action. Most are nonprofit and a few are non-partisan, but many are founded on the principal of promoting a specific issue.

Institutions

  • Approach corporations with similar interests to your think tank. Draw up a complete business model, including the names of experts on staff, media contacts and initial research conclusions, then approach the company's media outreach department or executives associated with a given issue.

  • Apply for federal grants, particularly through the National Endowment for the Humanities. Various departments, including the Department of Education and the Department of Defense, also fund think tanks.

  • Use university contacts through experts at your think tank. Often colleges provide funds for projects involving their professors and alumni.

  • Take out a small business loan. Your revenue plan can include income from the sale of research and polling data, book and video sales from staff members, public speaking fees, advertisements placed on organizational materials and the production of media programs.

Local Sources

  • Mount a massive campaign targeting individuals and businesses by focusing on an issue of interest to them. Fund-raising methods include mailers, e-mail, phone calls and advertising space on your newsletters and literature.

  • Find organizations with similar interests. If addressing health care, target local physicians, or if discussing veterans' affairs, approach the local Veterans of Foreign Wars or American Legion posts.

  • Ask a local Congressman or other elected official to direct you to other sources of funding or provide it to your think tank with specific funding requests.

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