Are you looking for some creative ways to earn funds for your organization? When you think of a side hustle, you might think of cosmetics, oils, juice cleanses and other related sales. But additional revenue doesn’t have to come from these sources. There are plenty of side hustle options that nonprofits can adopt for some extra cash flow.
Check out these clever ways for using partnerships and idle income streams to supplement core revenue channels. Some of these require minimal effort or few additional resources. But, best of all, most of these methods can help you raise awareness and give you the opportunity to tell your story to new audiences.

Affinity Programs, a.k.a. Referral Revenue

Chances are, many of the vendors you work with have affinity programs where they pay for referrals. Specifically, donor management and CRM software products almost all offer a referral bonus. These are often paid out based on a percentage of monthly fees creating a year-round idle income stream. It pays to spread the good word about the brands you work with.

Revenue Share

Similar to an affinity program, you can work out revenue share arrangements with small businesses that you’re probably naturally referring to. For example, many small businesses donate a percent of sales for specific products to charity. They leverage the good work of the charity to make their product or service an especially good deal for buyers.

Be the Beneficiary

As people begin to gather again, this presents many opportunities for good causes to utilize. Here are a few ways your organization can benefit from clubs and occasions:
  • Suggest that volunteers celebrating big birthdays ask for support for your cause in lieu of gifts.
  • Neighborhood/block parties can take up a collection for your cause.
  • Figure out what concert series or other ticketed events are in your area. They may be interested in supporting your cause in order to broaden their audience.
  • As morbid as it sounds, try to have a good relationship with the funeral homes in your community. This can help them make the connection for gifts in lieu of flowers to families who haven’t preselected a cause.

Make it in the Marketplace

Even if you don’t operate a resale store, chances are your organization receives donated goods of some sort. Or, do you have a storage space full of miscellaneous junk? If you have goods you’re not using, sell them! Facebook Marketplace and eBay stores are great projects to assign to dedicated volunteers.

The Host with the Most

Space is an asset! Make sure it’s working for you and your cause. If you have space, consider how you can leverage it through rental income or hosting to raise support. Many corporations would love to have their annual gathering, Christmas party, or board meeting “hosted by” your charity. They may even ask you to give a short talk about your work. It’s a low commitment/high PR-value way for businesses to support your mission.

Be Careful of UBIT

If you’re thinking of taking on a side hustle, make sure you do it properly. Activities that are not substantially related to your charitable purpose can trigger Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT) and require you to file a 990-T. Check out the IRS guidelines before taking on a low-profit venture that may cost your organization with regard to hoops and taxes.