Screwtape’s 10 Tips for Nonprofits That Want to Generate Business Revenues


  1. Start a business, any business. And act quickly! Get on the social enterprise bandwagon. You can’t rely just on fundraising anymore.
  2. Invest in pet projects of your key leaders and split the profits with them.
  3. Sell all kinds of merchandise with your name and logo if you can’t think of anything else. That always works.
  4. Come up with cool things to sell to millennials and focus all your marketing efforts on reaching them.
  5. Remember you’ll always have a competitive advantage in any business over a for-profit business because, as a nonprofit, you’re more trustworthy and you’re tax-exempt. UBIT? Nonsense. Nobody pays that.
  6. Go big or go home; invest whatever you can in the new business venture even if you have to deplete your reserves. You can’t win if you don’t play the game. But see #7 and #8 for places where you can save.
  7. Keep the staffing costs down by using your existing staff to run the new venture. No matter how busy they are, they’ll learn to manage. They always do.
  8. Keep professional fees low by using self-help books, volunteers, and, if you have to use professionals, the most inexpensive professionals you can find (they're all the same).
  9. Have your executive director make it his or her priority to get the new venture off the ground. Use revenues-based bonuses to get your E.D. motivated.
  10. Look for partnerships with any for-profits that will donate a part of its sales to your organization in exchange for some publicity. That's just free money.

Editor's Disclaimer: At the risk of offending Screwtape, always consider the source of any tips before relying on them.