A non-profit can't grow without the generous donations of individuals, organizations and government agencies. However, getting those donations is sometimes a tall order. Board members might have many ideas and a difficult time choosing which approach to follow. The elusive goal of raising a large amount of funds can be achievable with research and the right resources.
One way large non-profits get funding is by focusing on one source that is a natural match to the organization's purpose. For example, the National Wild Turkey Federation, whose goal is to preserve and grow the habitats of wild turkeys, gets most of its donations from hunting organizations. Look for larger, well-funded organizations whose goals match or overlap with the goals of your non-profit group. Then focus your efforts on those specific larger organizations, who can give a big donation all at once, rather than a wide array of individuals who may give smaller amounts of money.
Some non-profits lose traction with their donors over time because they do the same thing, year in and year out, and people lose enthusiasm about their goals. To battle enthusiasm fatigue, successful non-profits hold special events throughout the year that generate interest and large funds instead of focusing all its efforts on one yearly campaign. Instead of an expensive black-tie function, hold several casual events related to your group's cause and you may find participation increasing.
Follow the Money
When you're trying to generate a large amount of funds for a non-profit, do your research first. Find out which groups of businesses or agencies are profiting and focus your attention on those groups. In 2009, when Fordham Law School was trying to raise $100 million during the recession, Forbes reported that it focused its fundraising efforts on bankruptcy law firms. These firms were the only ones profiting from the recession, and the focus paid off. Be ready to rethink your strategy and change your tactics to gather interest from the people who have money in their pockets.
Government agencies are a good source of large funding for the right non-profit groups. In order for this tactic to be successful, your group must have a mission that meets a community need and operates in an area that government agency has to take responsibility for. For example, a non-profit that focuses on foreign affairs might find help from a federal agency, or non-profit focusing on medical research might get a donation or grant from the Centers for Disease Control. A non-profit that focuses on finding employment for people in need might get support from a state or city government agency.