Help! How can I get core funding for my start-up nonprofit?




Dear Regi,

I am a Trustee of a nonprofit in East Africa, which began with generous support from foundations and benefactors. That core funding enabled the creation of a service which many other not-for-profits, international agencies, and local governments here find very useful; however, our funders are unwilling to pay for more than the direct cost of the work we do for them, which means our core capital is being spent down.

In the private sector, different pricing practices and next stage funding can get you out of the valley of death and in turn, you give the investors a share in the business. Such next stage funding is extremely rare, it seems, in the not-for-profit sector. Foundations and benefactors seem only interested in the novel. How can we persuade them to help a start-up to stand up, and then stay up by helping with core funding?


Dear Start-up, 

‘Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.’

But I will fear funders who still don’t understand the merits of core funding, and who are only looking to fund shiny and new projects. Because projects will change the world, right? Might I suggest you turn to our friends in the venture philanthropy space, who may have ideas around the type of support you seek? They are moving forward in Europe, the US and in Africa. Check out the EVPA  and its African affiliate AVPA for more information. 

Baby birds and rolling tobacco, 

Read more Philanthropy Confidential or ask Regi your own question.

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