How to Make Cash for Your Nonprofit

Have you ever wondered how other nonprofits making money? Can nonprofits even do that? Yes! You are still a business, there are just key differences for nonprofit organizations and how you handle earned income.

Earned income is revenue created from the sale of goods or services

It is a way that nonprofits are diversifying their funding streams and creating a stronger sense of sustainability. Some nonprofits are scared off because of the possibility of having to pay taxes, which in some cases, is necessary. However, it is still worth looking into and consideration should be made by nonprofit leadership. Check out the IRS ‘unrelated business income’ for more information, and always be sure to consult with legal professionals.

Additional resources to help you understand ‘earned income’ for nonprofits include:

Ways to make Cash for Your Nonprofit

So how can you make cash for your nonprofit? The Urban Institute (2013) found that 72% of charities earned money. The key difference for nonprofit organizations is that while they can sell products and services the revenue earned is put back into the organization to serve its mission.

Income can be made for nonprofit organizations through:


For example, this can be shirts with your organization’s logo. Things to consider include when thinking about the money/time and value, are how much was sold? How much did we make? How much time are spending on this?


It is important to note that oftentimes nonprofit leaders are experts in their respective fields of service. For instance, if your organization works to serves to prevent teen suicide, it is likely you have had the necessary training and have even become a trainer yourself. You can leverage this training service and change compared to what others in the field are charging. A note on this: be sure to share where the funding generated from these services go, and that they always go back into serving your nonprofit’s mission.


Track these! Look at your current year and project grant opportunities into the new year. Always check back on federal funding, these adjust according to budget allocations, which vary and cannot be assumed. Be sure to document the following in your grant tracking and projections:

  Project Name     Request/Amount Awarded   POC   Previous Funding Received  
EXAMPLE $10,000   NAME OF PERSON YES; $15,000 in 2016

Fundraising/ Donations

You can track your projects in a similar way to grant tracking. It is important to think about the money/time and value that goes into fundraising projects and generating donations. Nonprofits, often with limited staff, do better to focus on the low hanging fruit that produces funds and still provides value.

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