Enhance Your Sustainability Statement: Diversify Your Program’s Revenue

In Diversify Your Nonprofit’s Revenue back in April, I laid out why your nonprofit should have diverse forms of revenue. Diversifying your nonprofit’s revenue will make your organization more sustainable and ultimately more competitive for grant funding.


Now, let’s talk about diversifying your program’s revenue specifically. When reviewing your grant application, grant makers will ask, “Is the project/program solely dependent on grant funding and specifically our funding?” Your grant application will be more competitive if you can answer no to both of those questions. The sustainability section and the budget for the program are great places to outline all the revenue for the program. Most grant makers do not want to be the sole funder for a project/program.


I work with a civic theatre located in a medium-sized city in Indiana. One of the programs we provide is a theatre program for adults with disabilities. To diversity the program’s revenue, the civic theatre uses the following forms of revenue:

  • Individual Donations – Individuals give specifically toward the program.
  • Grant funding – We write several grant applications a year for the program.
  • Fees for Service – We do charge a small fee to participate in the program, and we sell tickets to the performances.
  • Volunteers – We do have a Drama Therapy Director who is a paid staff member, but she needs volunteers to help with the program each time it meets. We always include the time and the value of their time in our budgets. If we did not have the volunteers, we would need to pay part-time employees. The Independent Sector has a chart that outlines the value of volunteer time per state, and they keep it updated from year-to-year.

For the theatre program for adults with disabilities, we utilize individual donations, grant funding, ticket sales, and volunteers so that we can keep the tuition fee minimal for the participants.


As you can see in the example, many of the types of revenues you use to diversify your nonprofit’s revenue you can use to diversify your program’s revenue such as individual donations, grant funding, fundraising events, fees for service, in-kind donations, and volunteers.


How do you diversify your program’s funding?

Pick one of your programs and studied its budget.Does the budget even list all the revenue for the program? If not, start adding in the revenue. Once the budget is updated, think about what types of revenues could be utilized for the program. Do you need to start seeking individual donations specifically for it? Is there a way you can charge a fee for service? Are you utilizing volunteers? Make a plan to start adding in multiple forms of revenue into the program within the next year.


Diversifying your program’s revenue will ultimately help you diversify your nonprofit’s revenue and build your capacity as an organization.


How can you diversify the funding for one of your programs? Share your thoughts for how to further diversify your program’s revenue and enhance your sustainability statement in your applications. We’d love to hear via the comments section of the website or via social media!

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