130 Ways to Fund Your Social Venture

Posted by on January 19, 2011 in Entrepreneurship, Featured, Funding - 74 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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74 Comments on "130 Ways to Fund Your Social Venture"

  1. Anne Harrington FRSA January 19, 2011 at 3:51 pm ·

    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

  2. Tristan January 19, 2011 at 4:07 pm ·

    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.

  3. Crystal Huskey January 19, 2011 at 7:13 pm ·

    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?

  4. Olivia Khalili January 20, 2011 at 5:47 pm ·

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

  5. Janice January 20, 2011 at 7:32 pm ·

    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.

  6. Tristan January 20, 2011 at 7:39 pm ·

    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.

  7. Tristan January 20, 2011 at 7:40 pm ·

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

  8. Tristan January 20, 2011 at 7:41 pm ·

    Thanks! Good mention for New York social ventures.

  9. Llepson January 20, 2011 at 9:41 pm ·

    Another funder: http://www.joshuaventuregroup.org

  10. Jmpasquier January 21, 2011 at 7:58 am ·

    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.

  11. Jmpasquier January 21, 2011 at 7:58 am ·

    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.

  12. Ted Levinson January 21, 2011 at 4:50 pm ·

    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/

  13. Tristan January 21, 2011 at 10:07 pm ·

    I just found another good long list here: http://csrjobs.nl/social-innovation-sources-funding?goback=.gde_36851_member_40976714

  14. Morgan Sully January 22, 2011 at 6:48 pm ·

    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!

  15. Jonathon January 25, 2011 at 3:53 am ·

    Outstanding. Thank you for this!

  16. Tristan January 26, 2011 at 6:44 pm ·

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

  17. Bakisubhash January 28, 2011 at 5:37 am ·

    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.


  18. Anonymous January 30, 2011 at 10:09 pm ·

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

  19. gary k February 3, 2011 at 8:42 pm ·

    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

  20. Tristan February 4, 2011 at 4:20 pm ·

    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.

  21. Tristan February 4, 2011 at 4:22 pm ·


    What stage are you at in your social venture?

  22. Tristan February 8, 2011 at 4:49 pm ·

    The Guardian covered more crowdfunding ideas here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/social-enterprise-network/2011/feb/01/social-funding-supporting-projects

  23. Tristan February 10, 2011 at 2:40 am ·

    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

  24. Tristan February 10, 2011 at 3:58 am ·

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

  25. Stu Lustman February 14, 2011 at 3:28 pm ·

    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.

  26. Tristan February 23, 2011 at 4:52 pm ·

    Another great list:

  27. Oana March 7, 2011 at 12:53 pm ·

    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.

  28. rishabh kaul April 9, 2011 at 9:16 pm ·

    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.

  29. Jenny Magill April 20, 2011 at 5:11 pm ·

    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).

  30. Guillermo May 6, 2011 at 12:53 pm ·

    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

  31. Anonymous June 23, 2011 at 4:04 pm ·

    Thanks! It’s been added to the list.

  32. Anonymous June 23, 2011 at 4:04 pm ·

    +1 now on the list

  33. Christina Espinosa July 8, 2011 at 12:46 pm ·

    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.

  34. Jamie Hartzell July 29, 2011 at 6:15 am ·

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

  35. Simsalaseo September 3, 2011 at 9:06 am ·

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

  36. Rock Health September 28, 2011 at 1:55 pm ·

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

  37. K Buck September 28, 2011 at 7:20 pm ·

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

  38. Yoshiyama Program March 1, 2012 at 5:15 pm ·

    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

  39. Gary May 12, 2012 at 10:19 am ·

    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.

  40. Minute Mar Ket July 7, 2012 at 10:08 pm ·

    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.

  41. Minute Mar Ket July 7, 2012 at 10:10 pm ·

    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.

  42. Maja Papaya Zidov July 22, 2012 at 3:04 am ·

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

  43. Maja Papaya Zidov July 22, 2012 at 3:04 am ·

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

  44. Terence Milbourn August 30, 2012 at 5:56 pm ·

    “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.

  45. raju.b.kurup September 20, 2012 at 10:53 am ·

    I would like to start a startup venture in india

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