This graphic illustrates financing of the nonprofit sector, featuring sources of revenue coupled with activity areas:

Nonprofit Funding Models

  • Heartfelt Connector
    focuses on causes that resonate with the existing concerns of a large number of people at all income levels by creating a structured way for people to connect where none had previously existed.  An example of this model is the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
  • Beneficiary Builder
    is reimbursed for services it provides to specific individuals, relying on donors who have benefited in the past from these services.  An example of this model is the Cleveland Clinic.
  • Member Motivator
    relies on individual donations because the issue is integral to these individuals’ everyday lives and is something from which they draw a collective benefit.  An example of this model is the National Wild Turkey Federation.
  • Big Bettor
    relies on major grants from a few individuals or foundations to fund its operations.  The primary donor is generally a founder who wants to tackle an issue that is deeply personal to her or him.  An example of this model is the Stanley Medical Research Institute.
  • Public Provider
    works with government agencies to provide essential social services for which the government has previously allocated funding. An example of this model is the Success for All Foundation.
  • Policy Innovator
    relies on additional government funding, as the organization has developed innovative methods to address social issues that are not clearly compatible with existing government funding programs. An example of this model is Youth Villages.
  • Beneficiary Brokers
    work with one another to provide government funded or backed services to beneficiaries. Beneficiaries are free to choose the nonprofit from which they will receive service. An example of this model is the Iowa Student Loan Liquidity Corporation.
  • Resource Recycler
    collects in-kind donations from corporations and individuals and then distributes donated goods to needy recipients. An example of this model is the AmeriCares Foundation.
  • Market Maker
    provides a service that straddles an altruistic donor.  The nonprofit generates the majority of its revenue from fees or donations that are directly linked to the nonprofit’s activities. An example of this model is the Trust for Public Land.
  • Local Nationalizer
    focuses on issues that are important to local communities across the country where government alone can’t solve the problem. An example of this model is Big Brothers, Big Sisters of America.


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