chapter 41 Raising Money in Rural Communities

A long-standing belief in fundraising circles is that it is much harder to raise money in rural communities than in urban or suburban settings and that you probably won’t be able to raise the money you need. This belief has some logic: there are fewer people in these communities, which means fewer people to ask. Although those people have fewer local nonprofits to choose from, there are still basic services that must be supported, and their tax rates may be higher to pay for local health services or schools or a library. Further, as studies by the National Rural Funders Collaborative have shown, nonprofits in rural communities do not receive foundation funding in proportion to their need, or even in proportion to their population. These facts support the belief that it is harder to raise money in rural communities. But harder does not mean impossible, and I have found it is not only possible to raise money in rural communities, it is sometimes possible to raise large amounts of money.


First, it is important to note that there are many different kinds of rural communities, and they will each have to look at their assets and challenges in creating stable fundraising programs. For example, our romantic image of rural people living and working on the same piece of land all their lives is more often than not pure mythology. Many people living and working in rural communities do not make their living from ...

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