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Raise Funds and Awareness from Avenues Typically Reserved for For-Profit Ventures
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Raise Funds and Awareness from Avenues Typically Reserved for For-Profit Ventures
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Raise Funds and Awareness from Avenues Typically Reserved for For-Profit Ventures
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Cause-based organizations driven by mission, not profit, are not immune to the need to raise funds to sustain their operations or raise awareness about their underlying purpose. While the new investment crowdfunding regulations do not all apply to these types of organizations, there are a variety of new, alternative fundraising structures that can serve non-profits.

LOHAS combines alternative financing strategy, data-driven marketing technology and techniques, and sector insight and assets to optimize campaign effectiveness for these groups to take advantage of new crowd-sourced financing and awareness generation strategies and potentially move their supporters beyond purely donation-focused interactions.

Beyond simply running a donation-based crowdfunding campaign, other strategies for crowd-sourced funding include directly selling products, developing or partnering with a for-profit venture, incorporating a real estate development element, and focusing on awareness generation (versus fundraising).

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Product Sales
One new take on an old approach to raising funds is through the direct sale of a product. Instead of the old-fashioned bake sale or car wash, a nonprofit might develop (or partner with the developer of) a new product (or product prototype) that aligns with the organization’s mission. The nonprofit can then run a campaign, leveraging its members and network of supporters, to sell the new product (or take paid orders for the future product once development is completed).
For Example

The Rosalia Project, a well-respected organization dedicated to cleaning and protecting our oceans, developed (through internal resources and supporters) a product prototype (they named the Cora Ball) to catch microfibers in the laundry that would otherwise find their way into the ocean via wastewater. They ran a Kickstarter campaign targeting the organization’s members and supporters of ocean conservation and raised over $350,000 in pre-sales of the device. Not only was the campaign a wild success, but the use of the product also supports the mission of the organization.

For-Profit Ventures

Beyond individual products, a nonprofit may develop its own for-profit venture or partner with one or more other companies whose products or services align with the mission of the organization. While these types of relationships have historically focused on revenue sharing, these business partners are actually ideal candidates to raise funds through some form of investment crowdfunding leveraging the Foundation’s brand, nonprofit’s members, or general supporters of the underlying mission.
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In fact, if not pursuing its own for-profit (or sustainable) venture, an organization with a strong brand or lengthy member base might be wise to pursue an active search for growth-stage businesses with products or services that align with the mission, seeking a greater stake of revenue (or a share of the company) in exchange for the support of the foundation or nonprofit in the company’s investment crowdfunding campaign. This type of campaign not only has the capacity to generate funds for the organization (and the company) but also can serve a brand-building purpose for both parties.

For-Profit Ventures

Beyond individual products, a nonprofit may develop its own for-profit venture or partner with one or more other companies whose products or services align with the mission of the organization. While these types of relationships have historically focused on revenue sharing, these business partners are actually ideal candidates to raise funds through some form of investment crowdfunding leveraging the Foundation’s brand, nonprofit’s members, or general supporters of the underlying mission.
More Info
In fact, if not pursuing its own for-profit (or sustainable) venture, an organization with a strong brand or lengthy member base might be wise to pursue an active search for growth-stage businesses with products or services that align with the mission, seeking a greater stake of revenue (or a share of the company) in exchange for the support of the foundation or nonprofit in the company’s investment crowdfunding campaign. This type of campaign not only has the capacity to generate funds for the organization (and the company) but also can serve a brand-building purpose for both parties.
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Real Estate Projects

Real estate developments are an attractive opportunity for raising true “community capital”. Foundations and nonprofits too often lead such projects (perhaps with an organizational office as an anchor tenant in the new development) without taking advantage of the group’s brand, member base, or network of supporters or recognizing the power and importance (to the success of the project) of engaging the surrounding community.
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Whether an organization needs additional funds in the capital stack of the project or not, offering some level of investment participation (even with lower than average returns) to current supporters of the nonprofit allows the organization to give real financial returns to these parties and move beyond a purely donation-based dialogue. In the same vein, permitting the actual community in which the development will be located to invest in the real estate project allows the organization to engage local stakeholders in the development who will support the project not only at its onset but also throughout its existence (to protect their returns).

Real Estate Projects

Real estate developments are an attractive opportunity for raising true “community capital”. Foundations and nonprofits too often lead such projects (perhaps with an organizational office as an anchor tenant in the new development) without taking advantage of the group’s brand, member base, or network of supporters or recognizing the power and importance (to the success of the project) of engaging the surrounding community.
More Info
Whether an organization needs additional funds in the capital stack of the project or not, offering some level of investment participation (even with lower than average returns) to current supporters of the nonprofit allows the organization to give real financial returns to these parties and move beyond a purely donation-based dialogue. In the same vein, permitting the actual community in which the development will be located to invest in the real estate project allows the organization to engage local stakeholders in the development who will support the project not only at its onset but also throughout its existence (to protect their returns).
Awareness Generation

For the foundation or nonprofit with a desire not to generate additional funding but rather build greater awareness of the organization’s mission, LOHAS has developed a sustainable solution to optimize media buying for the purpose of educating target constituencies and driving recognition of the cause.  

Dubbed a “perpetual motion machine” of media buying and awareness generation, the LOHAS campaign solution incorporates media buying intelligence with an ultimate “ask” tied to further media and influencer outreach to build knowledge and appreciation for the underlying cause.

For Example

WildAid.org, a global wildlife conservation organization dedicated to ending the illegal wildlife trade in our lifetimes, has achieved great recognition for its initiatives in Asia and Africa (the source of most illegal wildlife trade), but those same causes are less familiar to Americans despite the fact that Americans travel to these areas and may inadvertently contribute to the problem by, for example, purchasing illegal wildlife products (such as goods made of ivory).  

LOHAS is working with WildAid to help its considerable informative content reach more Americans, spread the word about select wildlife causes with targeted constituencies, and (for some) encourage them to contribute to further distribution of the message. LOHAS has engineered the campaign to allow supporters to continue the outreach on an ongoing basis without further contribution from WildAid.