10 Revenue Generating Ideas for Nonprofits

I’ve tried to develop this little habit that I call ’10 Ideas’. I owe it to James Altucher and his book “How To Be The Luckiest Person Alive!“.

Normally, I’ll pick a topic at random (or it’ll pick me) and just give myself 10-30 minutes to come up with 10 ideas. The topics range from 10 ideas to spruce up my lawn to 10 ideas for a friend’s website to 10 ideas for healthier family meals.

Today, I decided I wanted to brainstorm ideas potentially helpful to my nonprofit clients. Remember, I’m not a nonprofit executive, so I’m sure some of these ideas are commonsense and normally addressed by executive directors and boards.  They might or might not work.

10 ideas that might help nonprofits generate more revenue


  1. Offer Services: Is there a population in your community that would willingly pay for you to provide your services? Don’t stop offering your free services to your consumers, but why not leverage your skills and expertise? How many upper middle class are up to their eyeballs in debt? Couldn’t they use your budgeting classes? One of my clients does this wonderfully, offering interpreter services to help fund education programs and scholarships.
  2. Engaging Email Campaigns: Google Ben Settle and Jon McCulloch for examples of surprisingly fun daily email marketing ideas. Don’t let their machismo and bravado bother you. They have premium programs, but you can also learn a lot by just being on their email lists. They have fun with it. You can too. (But don’t try to reverse engineer their systems, apparently it’s impossible…. and also, especially with McCulloch, the self-proclaimed Evil Bald Genius, be aware that the language can be salty).
  3. Connect your services to the costs to the community if you STOPPED providing them (I know this is 501c3 Exec 101).
  4. Tell more stories — a lot of stories! We all love hearing stories. This is the yin to the yang that is the stat driven ‘connect your services to the costs to the community….’ of point 3.
  5. Acknowledge you’re in sales – sometimes it’s good to own the fact that you are ‘selling’. And that word isn’t a curse word.  Admit it and realize that selling is simply helping people exchange something of value for something of value. I assume what you do is valuable. Find the people who agree with you.
  6. Use social media – to build relationships, not to ask for cash. Once you connect, they might start asking what you do. And once they start asking, maybe they’ll start helping.
  7. Speak. Speak. Speak – find opportunities to speak to small, large, medium sized groups.
  8. Find local business or other leaders who seem to have the Midas touch and let them mentor you. – get inside their business minds and perspectives on money, raising funds, selling, etc.
  9. Pray
  10. Give a percentage of your revenue to other nonprofits to encourage a culture of abundance and generosity in your organization.

Your Experience?

Which of these ideas have you tried? How did they go?

What are some creative ideas that you have?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below

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