Getting Funding for Your Nonprofit

Grants, loans, debt, and donations for your nonprofit

Just like starting a business, starting a nonprofit means finding money to fund your work. There are a number of options available to nonprofit organizations, including grant financing, taking out loans, and receiving donations.

Grant Financing 

Grants are non-repayable funds awarded to organizations, typically for a specific purpose.

Foundation Center Directory Online

An online database of continually updated grantmakers with filters to help nonprofits find the funders most likely to give you grants that match your mission and work. This tool requires a subscription, but it is available for free at the following locations:

Louisiana GrantWatch

A search engine for federal, state, local, foundation, and corporation grants available to nonprofits in Louisiana.

Learn more >

Loan and Debt Financing

Just as small businesses can take out loans or debt financing to pay for their enterprise, so can nonprofit organizations. Here are few organizations that provide loans and debt financing for socially-conscious businesses and organization in Louisiana.

Propeller Social Venture Fund

A $1 million loan fund that provides below market-rate loans between $20,000 and $100,000 to businesses and nonprofits tackling disparities in the areas of food, water, health, and education. The fund also provides loans to entrepreneurs of color located in the South Broad commercial corridor.

Contact: Kris Khalil, fund@gopropeller.org
Learn more and apply here >

Foundation for Louisiana Community Investment Fund

Bridge loans up to $20,000 for socially-conscious Louisiana ventures that find it difficult or impossible to access traditional funding sources. Loans are below-market rate loans and awarded to projects that align with Foundation for Louisiana's mission of investing in people and practices that work to reduce vulnerability and build stronger, more sustainable communities statewide. $500 application fee. Learn more and apply here.

Contact: Lydia Cutrer, lcutrer@foundationforlouisiana.org
Learn more and view the application >

Regional Loan Corporation

A nonprofit small business development company providing up to $5 million in low-interest loans for Louisiana-based small businesses unable to obtain full conventional financing through private financial institutions.

Restore Louisiana Small Business Program

$20,000 to $50,000 loans to assist small businesses and nonprofits directly impacted by the Severe Storms and Flooding Events of 2016. Loans have a 0% interest rate and are structured as 80% repayable, 20% forgivable. Learn more and apply here.

Contact: Tee Betz, teebetz@rlcsbidco.com, 504 524-6172
Learn more >

Getting Donations

One of the main ways many nonprofits pay for their operations is through donations. Here are some best practices to follow when receiving donations:

Tax reporting

To ensure their donations are tax-exempt, most nonprofit organizations are required to file annual returns using a 990 form by May 15th of each year. Instructions can be found here. If this is your first time filing a 990 Form, and you need help with tax preparation, see our resource page on getting assistance for your nonprofit.

Donation receipt letters

Donation receipt letters are required for gifts of $250 in order for your donors to claim a tax-deduction on their contribution. For each donation above $250, your organization should send a written acknowledgment no later than January 31 of the year following the donation. The letter should include:

  • The name of your organization
  • The cash amount of the contribution
  • A statement that no goods or services were provided in exchange for the contribution, if that is the case
  • If goods or services were provided in exchange for the contribution, a description and estimate of the value of goods or services provided by your organization (for example, a ticket to your organization’s fundraiser, branded merchandise from your organization, or a pass to a paid training provided by your organization)