4 questions to ask before funding a nonprofit project


You’ve succeeded in hitting your fundraising goals and are ready to turn the revenue into nonprofit impact.

Your organization has a long list of goals you hope to achieve, and now have the funds to select a key project. After weighing multiple options and preferences, a consensus forms around one priority to take on.

With such important work, it’s normal to feel some doubt about whether this is the right investment for your cause! To help, here are four questions you should make sure you’ve considered before signing off on funding a nonprofit project.

Could you create more impact with other projects?

‘Nonprofit impact’ is the phrase on everybody’s mind, from your board members to staff to donors. The project you are considering will make a difference, but is it the most effective of the options you have?

Before finalizing your plans, weigh the cost of the project and the expected results against some of the other options. Cost and benefits may not always be black and white, but you should at least be certain that there is no other project that would make significantly better use of the funds.

Are the other required resources going to be available?

Completing a project will take more than just money. A number of other resources will also be required, such as time from your staff and volunteers. You may also need to use special equipment and public or private spaces to complete the work.

You should ensure that these resources are available in the time frame you need them before committing to a project. If the primary staff members needed are busy with other key tasks, volunteer recruitment is lagging, or the space you need is booked up, your project may face significant delays or other challenges.

Does anyone have any strong objections?

The projects your organization takes on will matter to a lot of different people – such as the communities you affect, the staff who put in the work, and the major donors who have helped you raise funds. It is to be expected that each of them will have their own priorities and preferences for the work your organization does.

While you should never expect to reach perfect consensus, it is important that no key constituents have a strong objection to the project, which could prevent them from working hard or donating in the future. Should you find any objections, it is best to discuss them and attempt to smooth them over before moving forward.

Is this the best time for your project?

Hopefully, everything will line up smoothly for your project. It will be clearly impactful, you will have the resources available, and for the most part, everybody is on board with the plan.

The last thing to consider is the timing itself. You know that you want to go ahead with the project, but could it be more successful if you waited a bit to launch it? For example, new technologies may be emerging that can help you achieve the goal, or a major event may be coming up that puts more attention on the work you’ll be doing.

If this is the case, shuffling schedules to push the project back by a few months may be worthwhile.

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