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Resources for Building a Sustainable Revenue Base

Here are several excellent resources for building a sustainable resource base for your nonprofit:

Ten Nonprofit Funding Models

While the “for profit” world has many universally known business models, the nonprofit arena is lacking common plans.  In this study, Landes-Foster, Kim and Christiansen take a look at developing a series of ten funding models based on research of 144 large nonprofits with significant growth year over year.  The intent was not to help choose which model each organization should use, but to inform and educate. They discuss the important distinction between business models and funding models and posit that while business models are generally developed and understood, especially by the for-profit sector, funding models have never been clearly articulated. By using these three parameters: source of funds, type of decision makers and the motivation of the decision makers, the authors came up with ten funding models grouped into categories defined by dominant type of funder (single funder, many individuals, government, corporations and a mix).  They include a few questions with each model to help determine which is the best fit for an organization. Go to: http://www.ssireview.org/articles/entry/ten_nonprofit_funding_models

Finding Your Funding Model: A Practical Approach to Nonprofit Sustainability

The Bridgespan Group’s guide, "Finding Your Funding Model: A Practical Approach to Nonprofit Sustainability," outlines a six-step journey to identifying and building the funding model that is right for your organization. Building on years of primary research and consulting experience with dozens of nonprofits, The Bridgespan Group has developed an approach to help organizations identify and develop funding models that can best position them to achieve programmatic aspirations. Finding Your Funding Model provides practical guidance for the steps required, and the decisions and tradeoffs to be made, that will confront nonprofit leaders along the way. For a copy of the full resource, Go to:  http://www.bridgespan.org/getattachment/df06c282-4716-4e11-accb-6a61726fa66e/Finding-Your-Funding-Model-A-Practical-Approach-to.aspx  For a brief summary of the resource, Go to: http://www.bridgespan.org/findingyourfundingmodel.aspx

Building Multiple Revenue Sources

The Compassion Capital Fund (CCF), administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, provided capacity building grants to expand and strengthen the role of nonprofit organizations in their ability to provide social services to low-income individuals. Between 2002 and 2009, CCF awarded 1,277 grants, and the CCF National Resource Center provided training and technical assistance to all CCF grantees. Strengthening Nonprofits: A Capacity Builder’s Resource Library is born out of the expansive set of resources created by the National Resource Center during that time period, to be shared and to continue the legacy of CCF’s capacity building work. This guidebook provides an overview of fifteen different revenue sources, insight into how online tools can help support revenue development, a step-by-step guide to developing a new revenue source, and analysis tools to help you assess your organization’s strengths and limitations. After reading this guidebook, you will know how to evaluate, start, and sustain one or more new income or revenue sources. Ideally, the tools, resources, and knowledge included in this guidebook will enable you to raise more money through the development of a targeted strategy that caters to your organization’s stage of development, strengths, and community assets. To download the guide, go to: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/ocs/revenue_sources.pdf

Resources for Nonprofit Financial Management

Organizations with strong financial management are better able to fulfill their missions and deliver high-quality services. The Wallace Foundation, with Fiscal Management Associates, a leading financial management consultant for nonprofits, has created a library of resources to help your organization become "fiscally fit." The library covers four key areas of strong financial management:


Planning: With budgeting and financial analysis, you can use your resources strategically to help achieve your organization's goals.


Monitoring: Regularly review financial results to ensure you're using resources according to your plan – and advancing organizational objectives.


Operations: A strong infrastructure for planning and monitoring means both employees who know how to analyze information and software that helps them.


Governance: Your board of directors should provide the oversight and guidance to ensure the organization fulfills its obligations – and its mission. 

To access the library of resources, go to: http://www.wallacefoundation.org/knowledge-center/Resources-for-Financial-Management/Pages/default.aspx

The Sustainability Mindset: Using the Matrix Map to Make Strategic Decisions by Steve Zimmerman and Jeanne Bell

Nonprofit sustainability lies at the intersection of exceptional impact and financial viability. The Sustainability Mindset offers nonprofit professionals and board members a step-by-step guide to move your organization towards this intersection. As outlined in the bestselling book Nonprofit Sustainability, "The Matrix Map" is an accessible framework that combines financial and programmatic goals into an integrated strategy. In this next-step resource, the authors detail a rigorous process to develop a meaningful Matrix Map and engage leadership in setting an organization's strategy. Nonprofits that thrive in today's environment are adaptable with a clear understanding of their impact and business model. This book offers nonprofit boards and staff a framework to do so. Drawing on their in-depth experience, the authors provide an easy-to-follow process complete with tools and templates to help organizations visualize their business model and engage in strategic inquiry. The book provides a variety of illustrative examples to show how the Matrix Map works for all types of organizations. Nonprofit executives and board member are sure to benefit from The Matrix Map analysis. To order, go to: http://tinyurl.com/jv6dsv3

Nonprofit Cost Analysis Toolkit

Bridgespan has developed a Nonprofit Cost Analysis Toolkit. This toolkit is intended primarily for senior leaders (e.g. executive directors, directors of finance, development directors, regional directors) of small to medium nonprofit organizations with multiple programmatic areas or multiple geographic sites. It may also be useful for leaders of larger nonprofits in those cases where this knowledge does not exist already among the organization's staff. The toolkit assumes that its users possess a basic understanding of financial concepts and a strategic purview of the organization. To access the Toolkit, go to: http://tinyurl.com/pz4mtox

Operating Reserves Toolkit for Nonprofit Organizations

The Operating Reserves Toolkit for Nonprofit Organizations is a new resource to help nonprofits through the process of building a reserve policy. The toolkit is the result of a rigorous, multi-year research, writing and review process by the Nonprofit Operating Reserves Initiative Workgroup. In 2009, the workgroup – led by the Urban Institute’s National Center for Charitable Statistics and the United Way Worldwide – produced a whitepaper that called for organizations to make maintaining an adequate level of operating reserves their top priority. Go to: http://www.nccs2.org/wiki/images/b/b4/Operating_Reserves_Policy_Toolkit_1st_Ed_2010-09-16.pdf


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Revised: June 20, 2016