Finding Alternative Funding Sources for Community Coalitions

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Finding Alternative Funding Sources for Community Coalitions

The search for reliable, ongoing sources of funding can often be a near-constant process for many community coalitions. Classified as non-profits and needing money to guarantee continued operation, coalitions can face a lot of financial uncertainty. And, while federal grant programs are available, many of them expire after prescribed periods of time. However, there are many sources of alternative funding coalitions should consider to ensure their organization’s long-term health and operation.

Federal Funding Sources

If your initial federal funding has run out, there may be opportunities for additional funding through alternative federal sources. For example, if a coalition focused on addressing drug and alcohol abuse issues in the community reaches the end of their eligibility period for their DFC (Drug-Free Communities Support Program) grant, they may be able to apply for a STOP (Sober Truth on Preventing Underage Drinking) Act Grant.[1] One of the best places to begin a search for federal grants for your coalition is, where you can search for, learn about, and apply for a wide array of federal funds. A more specific list of grants for 2017 relating to substance abuse and mental health can be found here.

State and Local Grant Opportunities

In addition to federal funds, many individual states have specific initiatives and programs (for both state-administered federal funds and exclusively state funds) designed to identify need and award government funds to community coalitions. Often, these grants are targeted towards coalitions who previously received federal funds with the intent of maintaining the positive momentum established by the preceding programs.[2]

On a smaller scale than their federal and state counterparts, local resources allocated for community coalitions can also be a vital source of alternate funding for coalitions. While these opportunities may be smaller in scope financially, the pool of applicants is also likely much smaller. As a result, coalitions operating in the specific communities offering them are much more likely to be awarded these grants.

When researching potential funding opportunities in your community, it’s important to note that the information and processes are likely much different than those on a federal level. “In contrast to the overabundance of information on federal funding, availability of information on state and municipal grants varies with each locality. Check with local government officials and congressional offices directly for more information.”[3] Often these kinds of approaches can also help your coalition by giving you exposure to local government offices. You may even find a new partner in your local councilperson or state representative.

Private and Public Foundations

Outside of government funds on a federal, state, or local level, additional alternative funding opportunities exist for coalitions in the form of foundations. Many private foundations—such as those founded by philanthropic individuals or families—and public, non-profit foundations offer grants to a variety of organizations in communities across the country. Some of these foundations are nationally-based and, thus, applications for their grants come in from coalitions nationwide.

In contrast, many other foundations are locally-based, which may be a better option for smaller coalitions, who may want to consider researching “which charitable foundations are located in your community and would be a fit with your organizational mission. You can create personal relationships with these small local foundations more easily that the big foundations, and you success rate will be higher.”[4]

Businesses, Corporations, and For-Profit Organizations

Additionally, many private and public businesses, corporations, and organizations offer alternative funding opportunities for community coalitions. Funds from these sources typically come from two sources: corporate giving programs and company-sponsored foundations.[5] “When it comes to philanthropy, corporations give in various ways, including cash donations or grants, in-kind gifts, sponsorships, cause-related marketing, and pro bono services. Companies also like to promote workplace giving through employee matching gifts programs and other efforts that encourage their employees to give their time and/or money.”[6]

Similarly, some for-profit organizations, like sports teams, regularly award thousands of dollars in grant money to coalitions and similar organizations working to improve their communities. Many banks also have programs to re-invest in the communities they serve. Check with your local financial institutions and see if they can provide you with information about charitable giving to communities and coalitions.

Whether you consider grants from local businesses, large companies with roots in your community, or organizations with a core philosophy that resonates with yours, there are plenty of opportunities in this realm of alternative funding sources for coalitions to consider.

Social or Community Fundraisers

While sometimes eschewed in favor of grant options from governmental or non-governmental sources, fundraising opportunities in the community in which the coalition operates can be an impactful alternative way to raise money. Special events—charity galas, auctions, raffles, 5K runs/walks, golf tournaments, etc.—are tried-and-true ways for coalitions to simultaneously generate publicity and raise money.[7]

In addition to in-person, physical events, in a world of ubiquitous internet communication, it should not be surprising that an effective new way to solicit donations from your community is to go online.[8] New fundraising options such as crowdfunding, mobile giving, and social media campaigns have seen much success in recent years. In short, “nonprofits and other social organizations seeking increased visibility, stronger networks of support, and greater awareness of their mission can and should devise online engagement strategies designed to yield results.”[9]

Using Data to Obtain Alternative Funding Sources for Your Coalition

Many governmental grants on a federal, state, and local level require coalitions to collect data about their community in order to apply for or maintain funding. Additionally, some non-governmental organizations, such as private foundations or for-profit corporations, may mandate or strongly prefer having similar information, as well. However, even if the funding source you’re applying for doesn’t technically necessitate it, collecting specific, quantifiable information about your community and your coalition’s impact can go a long way in garnering support—financially, socially, and more.

Pride Surveys has been helping coalitions collect critical survey data about their communities for over 30 years. To learn more about how Pride can help your organization, take a look at some of the benefits of partnering with us and the wide variety of surveys we offer. Ready to chat? Give us a call at 800-279-6361 or fill out our quick online contact form.

[1]“Sober Truth on Preventing Underage Drinking Act (STOP Act) Grants.” Grant Announcements: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Retrieved from on January 19, 2017.

[2]Bowers, Larry C. “GRAAB Coalition gets anti-drug state grant.“ Cleveland Daily Banner. Retrieved from,41358 on January 19, 2017.

[3]“Knowledge Base: Where can I find information about government grants?” GRANTSPACE: a service of Foundation Center. Retrieved from on January 20, 2017.

[4]“STAYING AFLOAT IN TOUGH TIMES: Alternative Funding Sources.” Neighborhood Preservation Coalition of New York State. Retrieved from on January 20, 2017.

[5]“Knowledge Base: Where can I find information on corporate giving? What motivates companies?” GRANTSPACE: a service of Foundation Center. Retrieved from on January 23, 2017.


[7]“Knowledge Base: Where can I find information about planning special events?” GRANTSPACE: a service of Foundation Center. Retrieved from on January 23, 2017.

[8]Schulz, Marc. “Where the Donors Are.” Georgia Nonprofit NOW, Fall 2013. Georgia Center for Nonprofits. Retrieved from on January 23, 2017.

[9]“Knowledge Space: How can my nonprofit expand its online presence?” GRANTSPACE: a service of Foundation Center. Retrieved from on January 23, 2017.

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