Your Next Top Model (Funding Model, That Is)

Who are you? Are you the prettiest nonprofit on the block, or are you the nonprofit with a lot of potential but no compelling look or style?

If you don’t know, you might want to read “Ten Nonprofit Funding Models” by William Foster, Peter Kim, and Barbara Christiansen in the Stanford Social Innovation Review.

The authors point out that, if you don’t know what kind of organization you are, you risk missing out on good matches with philanthropists. “When nonprofits and funding sources are not well matched, money doesn’t flow to the areas where it will do the most good,” they say.

Here’s their list:

  1. Heartfelt Connection (example: Make-a-Wish Foundation)
  2. Beneficiary Builder (Princeton University)
  3. Member Motivator (Saddleback Church)
  4. Big Bettor (Stanley Medical Research Institute)
  5. Public Provider (Success for All Foundation)
  6. Policy Innovator (Youth Villages)
  7. Beneficiary Broker (Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership)
  8. Resource Recycler (AmeriCares Foundation)
  9. Market Maker (Trust for Private Land)
  10. Local Nationalizer (Big Brothers Big Sisters)

The article describes the various models and also how to maximize each model’s assets to find fame and success.

Note that, although articles like these are often reductive (think Cosmopolitan magazine’s “10 ways to make him love your hair” or whatever), it sometimes helps to make lists. They make you think about your organization and clarify your strategies, even if you decide you don’t quite match any of the options.


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