Nonprofit organisations can have a wide range of income sources whereas for-profit organisations obtain their working revenue mostly from sale of goods and services and governments from taxes. Community service nonprofit organisations often wish to diversify their income sources, particularly when they are dependent on one source alone – often government grants and contracts.

Income sources

There are a number of sources of income other than government and the main ones are:

Giving by individuals of cash

Cash donations are given by supporters and friends, e.g. church collections

Grants by foundations and other nonprofit organisations

Grants are given by charitable trusts (for example the Queensland Community Foundation)

Fee income and commercial ventures

  • An ‘op-shop’ which sells donated goods
  • Fees charged for services delivered by nonprofits such as counselling service to wealthy people in addition to their free counselling to the needy

Membership income

Members are charged fees to belong to the organisation

Investment income

Sometimes known as an endowment, where a large sum is invested and the income used by the organisation. Often the large sum comes from bequests

Volunteer resources

Volunteers provide services to the organisation such as staffing its ‘op shop’ or serving on its board

Fundraising strategies

It is usually a matter for the board or management committee of an organisation to assess the strategy about the best balance of income sources. Some organisations decide to have as many sources as possible, other concentrate on growing just a few. This series of fact sheet examines developing fundraising from individuals as a revenue source for the nonprofit organisation.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) estimates that fundraising across the nonprofit sector accounts for some 9.4% of income being made up of:

  • Grants from foundations         0.4%
  • Donations from business        0.8%
  • Sponsorships                         1.4%
  • Donations from individuals      5.4%
  • Other fundraising                   1.3%

For the ABS category ‘social service’ the portion of their income sourced by fundraising is nearly 22% of their total income. This is only an average and some organisations can be higher or lower than this average.

Many associate ‘fundraising’ with the rattle of the tin cup on the street corner. However, this is a fading sound. Fundraising today - or development as it is often called - is a sophisticated and complex profession, drawing on management, marketing and communication skills.  In fact, fundraising is taught at tertiary level, and a full training program is also offered by Fundraising Institute Australia, who also has a very detailed Code of Professional Conduct. Clearly, there is more to the fundraiser’s role than meets the eye, be it a volunteer role or a staff one.

A foolproof formula for raising funds has yet to be devised, but good planning and management are staple ingredients in every successful campaign recipe.  Many Australian organisations these days employ a fulltime development team, specifically to raise funds.  Often the organisation may employ fundraising consultants as well, just as it might call on financial or management consultants to meet specialised needs.  If your organisation’s fundraising task calls for such specialist expertise, Fundraising Institute Australia, mentioned at the end of these factsheets, will have contact details for local consultants.

Alternatively, you may opt to raise funds yourself.  Obviously, the scope of your fundraising task will determine the type of campaign you run.  Whether you use a consultant or ‘do it yourself‘, whether you are raising hundreds of dollars or millions, some core questions can get the effort started.  People think fundraising is about asking people for money and that is such a minute part of the role.  More importantly, it is about communicating with relevant people about the absolute value of what your organisation is and does in the community.  The challenge is to encourage others to engage so they want to be part of that effort.

The Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) Innovation Nation campaign gives young people the opportunity to drive Australia’s future by sharing their ideas and solutions to some of the country’s most pressing problems. FYA, in collaboration with leading not-for-profit, corporate and philanthropic...
A social services Requests for Offer schedule was recently published on the Queensland Government’s QTenders site to provide greater visibility of service procurement needs across government as well as enable suppliers to more easily identify upcoming service opportunities. Updated monthly, the...
A study into charities’ regulatory duties has found that Commonwealth funding agreement obligations are imposing a greater burden on charities than legislative obligations. Ernst & Young’s report, Research into Commonwealth Regulatory and Reporting Burdens on the Charity Sector , demonstrates...
Queensland Government funds are available to deliver a youth support service based in Maryborough with satellite services in Hervey Bay. Organisations are invited to submit quotes through an open tender process to provide services ranging from advice and referrals to intensive support for...
A Consortium comprising Foresters Community Finance, Positive Solutions and QUT Creative Enterprise Australia (CEA) is working with Arts Queensland to lead the way with a new arts fund that mixes public and private investment. Today Arts Minister Ian Walker launched the Arts Business Innovation...
The Governance Institute of Australia is inviting individuals who are interested in pursuing postgraduate studies in governance to apply for the Chant Legacy scholarship program which is open until October 2014. The scholarships are available to applicants keen to pursue postgraduate governance...
The focus of these grants is on community development, social cohesion and inclusion; and poverty and disadvantage. Funding is up to $40,000. FIND OUT MORE : Applications are open all year round. For more information phone (03) 8564 1222 or email [email protected] .
New Australian research into social media in the not-for-profit sector has identified the top three methods charities employ to encourage people to give. A survey of 177 current and prospective donors, volunteers and supporters of charities revealed that the top three techniques are giving online,...
The Homelessness Community Fundraising Toolkit has been prepared by the Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) for any organisation or community in Queensland working to address homelessness. Through fundraising, the resources, time and talent of local communities can be leveraged to achieve...
The Social Services Investment Portal brings together information on the Queenland government's investment in community services, including what new funding is available. You can access details of current expenditure here , and information on available funding here ...


Your search yielded no results

There may not be any content with your search criteria.

  • Check if your spelling is correct.
  • Remove quotes around phrases to search for each word individually. bike shed will often show more results than "bike shed".
  • Consider loosening your query with OR. bike OR shed will often show more results than bike shed.

See videos from StudioQ related to this topic

Share or Print