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What are Types of Nonprofit Donations

What are Types of Nonprofit Donations

Posted on August 18, 2021
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Raising money to support goals is a process that never stops in nonprofits. There is always an ongoing drive to attract new contributors while preserving connections. Both involve considerable work, attention, and a little planning. One of the toughest tasks at hand for non-profit professionals is to discover sources of income and choose the proper fundraising strategy for their organization. It is not simple to decide on the correct approach to nonprofit funding.

In a competitive world, it is necessary to know where your donations come from. Individual donors to major donor corporations, all are donation types that a nonprofit business can receive.

Here we look at types of donations, how nonprofits get donations and what to say when asking for donations.

Types of donations?

Broadly we can categorize donation types based on individual or corporations or foundations.

Individual Donors

Individual donors can be people with a steady income or super-rich people. They donate majorly because they feel for the cause and want to support it. The type of donations they make can be either an online donation, mobile donation, monthly donations, pledges, or goods. Depending upon the donations made, you can categorize your individual donors into:

Major Donors

Sometimes, you have donations that give you a large influx of cash and it gets your project started. These types of donors may not be regular or consistent but provide a great monetary donation to your organization. You should have a plan at hand to attract these types of donors as they are good to have on your donor lists.

Regular Donors

As the name suggests, regular donors give frequent donations in small amounts. They are a steady source of income for nonprofits. They also make a large majority of the donor base, therefore having good donor acquisition and retention strategies is a must. Regular donors can be monthly or quarterly or yearly. Regardless, they are necessary for sustaining nonprofits.


Pledges are nonprofit contributions, to be made over several months or years by individuals. They are used by individuals who wish to contribute a significant amount of money, but who cannot pay the whole amount in one payment. Rather, over time, these supporters provide an organization the money. Pledges are like monthly or repeated donations, but the distinction lies in the non-profit communication.

Offer services

There are individuals who cannot give monetary donations but like to offer their skills to give something to the organization. They can offer services like website development, marketing, and advertising, graphic designing, teaching, etc. These are also valuable to a nonprofit, especially if it’s a new nonprofit.


Many individuals certainly do not regard volunteer time as a kind of donation. It is difficult to perceive them not as donors of any kind, when you think of the time and effort numerous volunteers are giving to organizations. Volunteers can donate financially too, or they can give their time and efforts. However, if you compute the kind of donations that your organization receives, your organization should not count out volunteers.

Corporate Donors

A corporate endorsement may be an outstanding source of charity financing. In general, companies are willing to partner in programs aimed at improving the charitable image or at becoming a socially responsible business. CSR is more essential than ever because customers are more inclined to buy from socially responsible firms. Different companies will have different schemes for contributing – some of which may work for your company.

Many corporations provide grants to qualifying nonprofits, both locally and internationally. The application procedure frequently takes time, but these company subsidies might be worthwhile. Firms that do not want to provide money to a nonprofit organization might give some type of in-kind gifts. In-kind gifts are time, service, or commodities contributions that a corporation may deliver. Articles for charity auctions are another example of typical in-kind contributions. Local companies or people give goods that are offered by auction participants.


Donations given by any foundation will fall under this category. Different foundations offer different types of donations. Largely, they give a mixture of monetary and in-kind donations.

A community foundation gives grants to nonprofits located in their geographic area. The most common causes to give funds to are research, scholarships, buildings and renovations, endowments, and annual funds. These types of foundations pool resources to give the grants. On the other hand, in private foundations, the money comes from one single source. The most famous example is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. They either give to one particular nonprofit or distribute their donations to a broad range of nonprofits.

The 7 Types of Donors

So far we have looked at the kind of donations made to nonprofits, here we look into the types of donors. Behind every donation, be it corporate or foundations, there is an individual involved. In 1974, Russ Alan Prince and Karen Maru File wrote a book titled The Seven Faces of Philanthropy. The book is a must-read for nonprofits to understand donor psychology and improve communications strategies. Depending upon the donor type, you can engage with them accordingly and not use one shoe fits all.

1. The Altruist:

They are the type you want to always have as a recurring or major donor. The altruists donate because they genuinely care for your cause and doing good. Recognition or credits are things they do not care about. “Do the Right Thing” is more than just a slogan, they truly believe in it.

2. Dynast:

It’s about legacy for them. Donation is in their blood and is more about carrying out the tradition. It’s a family thing. You should care more about the history than the person donating.

3. Devout:

A devout donor donates because of their strong belief in a group or cause and the desire to fit in with fellow devotees. Acknowledging their devotion and having an engaging communication strategy is a good way to go.

4. Repayer:

It’s about giving back and returning the favor. This type of donor feels a sense of responsibility or obligation towards those who have helped them get where they are. Gratitude is their language, so focus on messaging how you will give the outcomes they desire.

5. Investor:

A donation is a mere number and a business move. What are the tax benefits? Or Will it be good for business? are commonly asked questions. And it’s fine! A direct approach and a list of how a donation will benefit them should be handy.

6. Communitarian:

It is about the community. Whether based on location, race, gender, ethnicity, or culture, it is all about empowering the community. A good approach is to explain how their donation will uplift the community.

7. Socialite:

Lights, camera, and action! They want credit and recognition for the donations they give. They show up to galas and fundraisers to make their presence known. They also bring their friends, which means more donations for the cause. The best way to appreciate them is to be thankful publicly and mention their donations.

As mentioned there is not one single reason why people donate to nonprofits. There are plenty! Regardless, it is important to remember that nonprofits can reach their donor base only when there is a proper communication setup. If there isn’t constant engagement from the organization’s side then donors will deviate their donations to other nonprofits who appreciate their monetary gift. You shouldn’t take your donors for granted. Instead of always wondering what to say when asking for a donation, you should prepare a 2 min elevator pitch. If it interests them they will ask more or even get convinced in those 2 mins.

You should always ensure that you have a strategy when it comes to acquiring funding for your company. Invest in donor contacts, whether they be private people, foundations, businesses, or government funding agencies. It takes time to build and cultivate these relationships. All types of support should be respected.