130 Ways to Fund Your Social Venture

Written by on January 19, 2011 in Entrepreneurship, Featured, Funding - 64 Comments

As a blogger focusing on social entrepreneurship and technology, I run across a plethora of resources for funding — one thing that most social ventures can’t get enough of. After some contemplation, I decided if I could get all, or at least most, of these websites, organizations and other funding avenues listed in one place, it would be an invaluable resource, capable of helping thousands of socially focused organizations. Below, I have tried to capture some of the best opportunities for big-thinking changemakers to put capital behind their world-shaking ideas.

(NOTE: Links go directly to funding information)

[Updated: Due to the strong interest we've added more sources for funding. The list is now at 136.]





ANGELS/VENTURE CAPITAL (investments, business support and more)




It’s inevitable that I wasn’t able to find every funding avenue out there, so comment your ideas below. Honorable mentions go to Cause Capitalism, Green VC, Shana Dressler and Rachael Chong for their fantastic venture funding lists.

Tristan Pollock

Co-founder of SocialEarth and Storefront. AngelPad alum. Ex-BestBuy.com.

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  • http://www.catchawaveuk.com Anne Harrington FRSA

    Hi there this is such a good idea! Shame it’s not re the UK, but great you’ve compiled the list :)

    Best wishes

    Anne Harrington FRSA
    CEO Catch a Wave UK cic

  • http://www.twitter.com/writerpollock Tristan

    Good point Anne. Some fellowships, crowdfunding and other options work internationally, but a U.K., or international version would be useful as well. Please comment your suggestions.

  • http://twitter.com/lostworldimprts Crystal Huskey

    Great list; so many of these are for non-profits only, while so many social enterprises are sole proprietor or LLC. In your opinion, which category do you think they should fall under?

  • http://twitter.com/OKL Olivia Khalili

    Thanks for the hat tip, Tristan. Glad my list was helpful and thanks for expanding on it.

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  • Janice

    Don’t forget NYC Investment Fund (for-profit ventures), or their grant-making arm, the New York City Partnership Foundation, if you’re an entrepreneur in the 5 boroughs.

  • http://www.twitter.com/writerpollock Tristan

    If you’re referring to social enterprises, I see them as a self-sustaining social venture. There are some nonprofit-focused funding organizations above, but also a lot of organizations focused on social entrepreneurs and their ventures, whether nonprofit or for-profit.

  • http://www.twitter.com/writerpollock Tristan

    You have some great information on Cause Capitalism. Keep it up! Our doors are always open for a guest post.

  • http://www.twitter.com/writerpollock Tristan

    Thanks! Good mention for New York social ventures.

  • Llepson
  • Jmpasquier

    Hi Tristan,
    thx for this list very helpful ! In addition, we are Koeo.net, the platform for skills sponsorship (only in France yet, but we think about more countries soon…) : http://www.koeo.net . And very soon also, a new website version.

  • Jmpasquier

    Hi Tristan,
    thx for this list very helpful ! In addition, we are Koeo.net, the platform for skills sponsorship (only in France yet, but we think about more countries soon…) : http://www.koeo.net . And very soon also, a new website version.

  • Ted Levinson

    RSF Social Finance lends $200k up to $5 million to non profits and social enterprises in the US and Canada. We offer senior, secured debt including commercial mortgages, asset-based lines of credit and equipment loans. We’re actively looking for high impact borrowers in our three focus areas: food & ag, ecological stewardship and arts & education. More details on our criteria here: http://rsfsocialfinance.org/services/lending/core/

  • http://www.twitter.com/writerpollock Tristan
  • http://www.memeshift.com/ Morgan Sully

    Useful list! Great for researching. I also did a shorter list here (with a brief write intro to each) focusing on crowdfunding/online platforms: http://www.memeshift.com/2011/01/19/10-online-fundraising-platforms-for-non-profits-creative-projects/ featuring StartSomeGood!

  • Jonathon

    Outstanding. Thank you for this!

  • http://www.twitter.com/writerpollock Tristan

    Thanks Jmpasquier! I also would like to add GiveMN.org (crowdfunding) and Minnesota Angel Network for all you Minnesotans out there.

  • Bakisubhash

    hi Tristan, that was very elaborate list. Thanks a lot.
    Can you help me identifying the funding firms for providing “Pure Drinking Water” to Schools in India.

    It would help me a lot.


  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the great information. A valuable resource I will keep and many will use. Congrats!

  • gary k

    I find noticeably lacking a list of seedfunders like Techstars, Y-Combinator, The Founder Institute,etc–people who i think will fund pre-beta. Where can i get a complete list of those sources, since we’ve run out of money and only have an alpha and 30% of a beta done with bugs., and having no luck finding designer willing to work for equity.
    –gary (founder of hopefully truly robust web app to help couples succeed, espcially those who cannot afford a therapist

  • http://www.twitter.com/writerpollock Tristan

    Hi Gary,

    Thanks for the suggestions. Techstars, Y-Combinator and The Founder Institute are also good avenues to go.

    This is the main funding resource SocialEarth has, but I would also refer you to AssetMap, StartSomeGood and two other new platforms mentioned here: http://doingsomethinggood.com.au/bulding-something-new — all offer funding, services and more.

  • http://www.twitter.com/writerpollock Tristan


    What stage are you at in your social venture?

  • http://www.twitter.com/writerpollock Tristan
  • http://www.twitter.com/writerpollock Tristan

    Recent Echoing Green opportunities:
    Ariane de Rothschild Fellowship
    City Hall Fellows
    Dell Social Innovation Competition
    Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year
    Global Health Corps
    Harvard Social Enterprise Conference
    Oxford Jam
    PopTech nominations
    Skoll World Forum
    SOCAP Europe
    Social Media Week
    William James Foundation Social Business Competition

  • http://www.twitter.com/writerpollock Tristan

    Very interesting video from Poptech featuring a big-idea funder (mulagofoundation.org): http://www.poptech.org/popcasts/kevin_starr_lasting_impact

  • Stu Lustman

    Hi this is a great post on the varied options available for fundraising. Since you asked for additional resources and options to raise funds, my new project is one through the sales of coffee for fundraising. The Java Endowment Project http://www.javaendowment.com for those that want to have either a direct sales or online sales tool for fundraising.

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  • http://www.twitter.com/writerpollock Tristan
  • Oana

    Under ‘crowdfunding platforms’, you should also mention Buzzbnk, the UK’s first crowd funding platform for social venture projects (www.buzzbnk.org). Besides getting goods or services in return, the backers can participate in social loans which offer interest payments or a percentage of revenue participation.

  • http://profiles.google.com/rishabhkaul rishabh kaul

    Ramit Sethi’s I Will Teach You to Be Rich Scholarship might be an interesting add to this list. He gives away 2500 USD to students pursuing a cause.

  • http://www.accionchicago.org Jenny Magill

    Great list – thank you! Another option for the Do-Good Banks/Loan Providers category is the US ACCION network (http://www.accionusa.org).

    ACCION provides capital and business consulting to small business owners who have difficulty accessing traditional sources of credit. There are ACCION programs in NY/NJ, New Mexico/CO/AZ, San Diego, Texas/Louisiana, and Chicago (where I am – http://www.accionchicago.org).

  • Guillermo

    Nice and thorough list, Tristan!
    Check this one too, a programme for social entrepreneurs in Spain, leaded by ESADE and BBVA: http://www.momentum-project.org

  • http://www.socialearth.org Anonymous

    Thanks! It’s been added to the list.

  • http://www.socialearth.org Anonymous

    +1 now on the list

  • Christina Espinosa

    The Global Center for Social Entrepreneurship at the University of the Pacific in Stockton offers Fellowships for students to intern at social enterprise organizations in 18 countries.

  • http://www.ethex.org.uk Jamie Hartzell

    Hi, you may want to add Ethex to your list. It just launched this week! All best

  • http://simseo.tumblr.com/ Simsalaseo

    What a list!
    What a delight!
    What a pleasure!
    A real demonstration how joyful and useful altruism can be

  • http://www.rockhealth.com Rock Health

    For-profit healthcare startups are eligable for Rock Health’s 5-month incubator program which includes office space, mentorship, grants, and more!

  • http://www.scu.edu/socialbenefit K Buck

    Be sure and list the Global Social Benefit Incubator in the Fellowship section: http://scu.edu/socialbenefit/programs/gsbi/

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  • http://twitter.com/yoshiprogram Yoshiyama Program

    Under Fellowships, you can include the Hitachi Foundation’s Yoshiyama Young Entrepreneurs Program. 

    In its third year, the Yoshiyama Young Entrepreneur Program provides financial and business support for up to five entrepreneurs whose businesses improve the lives of low-income individuals. This could result in anything from creating quality jobs, producing new products and services or devising management strategies that propel the business and people forward. The selected entrepreneurs receive $40,000 over two years, along with leadership development, business mentoring, technical assistance and access to a network of peers and advisers.For more information, please email yoshiprogram@hitachifoundation.org or visit http://www.hitachifoundation.org/our-work/yoshiyama-young-entrepreneurs-program. We‘re on Twitter at http://twitter.com/YoshiProgram and we’re on Facebook too –  http://www.facebook.com/YoshiyamaYoungEntrepreneurs

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  • http://CoupleWise.com/ Gary

    Any advice on how to find an Intern or someone willing to be paid on a commission basis for a social venture startup? (Director of Development title). And in particular, any advice on finding someone in the Bay area, willing to network to find highups in large SV companies and angel funds. One in particular we think would be very interested in helping us, possibly for its PR value alone, given all the bad press they’ve received for being a leading cause or at least catalyst for divorce now in the USA. We have already been seedfunded to develop the MVP beta. Which Universities have the most students studying fundraising, for example? Attempts to hire via CL in Bay area have gotten no response. Can at least pay their rent.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/minutemarket Minute Mar Ket

    I love this site! We are using Indiegogo for our non profit restaurant campaign. Just started it tonight… Check it out at http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/156646 or just visit the site at http://www.theminutemarket.com.

  • http://www.facebook.com/minutemarket Minute Mar Ket

    I love this site! We are using Indiegogo for our non profit restaurant campaign. Just started it tonight… Check it out at http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/156646 or just visit the site at http://www.theminutemarket.com.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/maja.p.zidov Maja Papaya Zidov

    One more to add: I just came across it myself actually: http://www.echoinggreen.org 

  • http://www.facebook.com/maja.p.zidov Maja Papaya Zidov

    One more to add: I just came across it myself actually: http://www.echoinggreen.org  

  • http://www.socialstrategy.co.uk/ Terence Milbourn

    “Anne Harrington FRSA” made a good suggestion 2 years ago but I haven’t seen a UK centric list anywhere. Hmmm. Maybe its something I might have a go at putting together.

  • raju.b.kurup

    I would like to start a startup venture in india

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