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Giving to LGBTQ+ Nonprofits

Are you leading an LGBTQ+ organization and struggling to create sustainable funding?


According to the LGBTQ+ Index report, by Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and DataLake Nonprofit Research, almost 2800 LGBTQ+ organizations received $560 million in 2019.


That’s only 0.13% of the overall giving that year. Talk about depressing.


The bright side is, giving to LGBTQ+ organizations increased by 46.3% from 2015 to 2019, outpacing growth in giving to non-LGBTQ+ organizations (24.9%). Transgender-specific organizations saw especially strong growth in philanthropic support— a nearly 200% increase from 2015 to 2019.


People see the need in our community and respond. Are you stewarding those that currently support your organization so they renew their giving?


Funding spiked to LGBTQ+ nonprofits in 2017 and 2018, with the Trump administration’s ban on transgender people serving in the military and a sharp spike in anti-LGBTQ legislation in statehouses across the country.

  • A record breaking 650+ anti LGBTQ+ bills introduced in state legislatures across the US in 2023. Over 76 bills have been signed into law as of June 5, 2023 – more than any year on record and more than double over 2022 (Human Rights Campaign).

  • 41% of LGBTQ young people seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year (and young people who are transgender, nonbinary, and/or people of color reported higher rates than their peers).

  • 56% of LGBTQ young people who wanted mental health care in the past year were unable to access it. (The Trevor Project)

“It’s an ebb and flow of dollars similar to disaster philanthropy,” says Una Osili, associate dean for research and international programs at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. “They have that opportunity to engage new donors with these events.”


This trend of increased giving to LGBTQ+ nonprofits is an opportunity for Executive Directors, fundraising teams, and board members to steward those donors and create genuine relationships leading to a sustainable donor base to affect lasting change.


So how do you begin to create a sustainable future for your organization?

American and LGBTQ+ Flags Flying

Giving to LGBTQ+ Nonprofits: 3 Simple Steps You Can Do

to Create a Sustainable Future:

  1. Tell your story all year long! Don’t share your work only in the month of June because it’s PRIDE month.

    1. Stories bring your work to life for others.

    2. Remember the best stories come from those who’ve experienced your work. That can be a volunteer whose life has been changed working with a client, a student who attended your organization’s workshop and is now an ally or, perhaps, that young girl that chose not to commit suicide because of your nonprofit’s suicide hotline is now a mentor to others. Remember to use photos and videos. The power of visual storytelling is compelling.

  2. Pick up the phone! Call five donors each week (that’s 1 each workday). Tell them “Thank you” for supporting your mission. Let them know they are making a difference. Ask them what more they would like to know and listen. A thank you card is good, but a phone call is great!

  3. Get your board involved. Ask each board member to share why they are involved with your organization to one person each month and invite them to take a tour of your work. If you have 7 board members and each one talks with one person each month and invites them to tour your organization that’s 84 people. Assuming only 20% take the tour that would be 17 new people who have visited your organization. The other 67 have now heard why your board members are so committed to your nonprofit.

Remember, donors need to hear from your organization between 6 and 7 times annually. That can take the form of a phone call, thank you note and sending your newsletter. Your donors want to hear about your work and how they are making a difference and what more they can do.


I work with Executive Directors at arts and LGBTQ+ nonprofits with budgets under $5M to increase revenue and board engagement.


If you are struggling with your fundraising or want a board that’s more engaged, then let’s talk.

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