How to find funding for an association?

How to find funding for an association?

An associ­ation needs funding to sustain its activity, especially when it regularly organises events. Finding funding then almost becomes a full-time activity. Diver­si­fying your sources of financing is also essential so as not to risk finding yourself suddenly with no cash.


  1. Dues and membership fees
  2. Gifts, bequests and donations
  3. Subsidies
  4. Patronage and sponsorship
  5. The banks
  6. Crowd­funding
  7. Profitable events and activ­ities

1. Dues and membership fees

Dues and membership fees collected from your associ­ation’s members are part of its first financing resources. It is possible to increase them over time in order to be able to invest in projects. It is important to ensure that contrib­utors are informed in advance, and that they under­stand what their money is being used for. Organ­ising an inform­ation meeting or sending an explan­atory email will allow you to involve them in your projects. They will then be in a better position to contribute because they want to and not because they have to. You can also demon­strate that you are making efforts to obtain funding through other means – grant applic­a­tions, event organ­isation, etc. In this way, you make them under­stand that your objective is not to take their money, but to improve the services provided by the associ­ation. Another thing to pay attention to is amending the associ­ation’s statutes and regula­tions.

Please note that contri­bu­tions are in no way a reserve fund for your cash flow. They must correspond to specific expenses that are included in your annual budget.

2. Gifts, bequests and donations

Gifts, bequests, and donations, whether material or financial, can be made by individuals or companies. Generally, they are welcome to start an associ­ation. Gifts and bequests sometimes happen at unpre­dictable times, while donations can be collected thanks to a commu­nic­ation campaign and a specific event.

To encourage donations, make it clear to potential donors that their action will result in a deduction on their income tax.

3. Subsidies

Subsidies are public grants allocated to associ­ations that carry out projects of general interest. They include all types of aid granted by the State, public insti­tu­tions, local author­ities, social security bodies, or government organ­isa­tions.

If a grant is for a specific expense, the associ­ation must be accountable to the government or organ­isation that awarded the grant. It then provides it with a financial report that shows the compliance of the expenses incurred. It must be sent within 6 months after the end of the fiscal year for which the grant was awarded.

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4. Patronage and sponsorship

Contact people inter­ested in your associ­ation’s mission to ask them to be its patron or sponsor.

Patronage is very inter­esting, both for the associ­ation and for the patron. This is called a win-win action. Indeed, you collect money without having to pay anything in return; the patron benefits from tax breaks and a rewarding image.

Sponsorship is intended to promote the image of the sponsor. You will therefore have to provide the sponsor with visib­ility in a specific place, on your website, or on official documents.

5. Banks

Contrary to what we think, an associ­ation may request an excep­tional overdraft permit if it needs it to regulate its cash flow. It can also take out a bank loan or an equipment or property finance lease.

6. Crowdfunding

Crowd­funding makes it possible to test the attract­iveness of a project by requesting funds before it starts. If the funds raised are suffi­cient, the project will be launched and you will leave with more cash flow than if you started from scratch.

For the crowd­funding campaign to be successful, you already need a fairly large network of contacts, including people who will be ready to parti­cipate quickly. The objective is then to create a chain reaction to convince people outside your network of the quality of your project. Generally, rewards are offered to parti­cipants: goodies, first goods produced, etc.

7. Profitable events and activities

Organise profitable events and activ­ities that will allow you to finance your associ­ation’s projects. « Profitable » or « lucrative » does not mean that the money goes into your pocket. This means that you sell products and collect money, but it must be reinvested. It is a legal requirement.

Thus, you can organise:

  • sales of cakes or goodies – t‑shirts, water bottles, caps;
  • service days – car cleaning, Christmas gift wrapping;
  • events related to your mission.…

The possib­il­ities are endless… it’s up to you to find the right solution! Let your creativity take over and be careful because most of these activ­ities require a minimum of cash flow upstream.

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