How Does a Nonprofit Organization Make Money?


A nonprofit organization is a company or group that does not have the goal of making a profit. However, while it is often said that these organizations do not make money, this is actually not the case. This article will discuss why nonprofits need to make money and how they do just that.


Why Does a Nonprofit Need to Make Money?

Some people believe that a nonprofit by definition cannot make money. However, this is not the case. Nonprofits need to bring in money in order to stay operational. The expenses of running a nonprofit are just like those of any other organization, if not more. They need to keep the lights on and pay their employees, among other things. In addition, many nonprofits also have to pay for things like insurance and taxes.

The main difference between nonprofit and for-profit companies is that they cannot keep their profits. Any money that is made beyond what is needed to cover their expenses must be given away. This does not mean, however, that they cannot make money.


How a Nonprofit Organization Makes Money

Nonprofits make money through a variety of means. The most common are grants, individual donations, sponsorships, fundraising events, and selling merchandise (often offered for a “suggested donation” rather than “for sale”).


A grant is a sum of money given by an organization to a nonprofit. This is usually given with the intention of funding a specific project. Grants are often given by governments, foundations, or businesses.

Individual Donations

Individual donations are another common source of income for nonprofits. Anyone can donate to nonprofits and many people do. These donations are often given with no strings attached, which means that the donor does not expect anything in return and does not require the nonprofit to use the funds in a particular way.

Individual donations can either be mailed in or given online. Many nonprofits also have donation boxes set up in public places. Furthermore, they also often set up fundraising pages, such as via GoFundMe.


Sponsorships are similar to grants in that they are given by organizations. However, unlike grants, sponsorships are often given in exchange for some form of advertising. For example, a business may sponsor a nonprofit in exchange for its logo being put on the nonprofit’s website as part of a nonprofit sponsorship package. This mutually beneficial arrangement allows the nonprofit to secure additional funding while providing the sponsor with visibility and recognition within the community.

Fundraising Events

Fundraising events are a great way for nonprofits to bring in money. They are often organized by the nonprofit itself, but sometimes they are organized by volunteers. These events can take many different forms, such as bake sales, car washes, or concerts.

Selling Merchandise

Many nonprofits also sell merchandise to raise funds. This merchandise often has the branding or log of the nonprofit on it, and may include anything from t-shirts to coffee mugs. Selling merchandise is a great way to raise awareness for the nonprofit, as well as bring in money. To avoid any complexities with the IRS, nonprofits will often offer merchandise for a “suggested donation” amount equal to a consumer price. 



As you can see, nonprofits need to make money, just like any other organization. They do this through a variety of means, such as grants, individual donations, sponsorships, fundraising events, and selling merchandise. Hopefully, you learned some great ways how you can create revenue to run and operate your nonprofit.