Renting Out Your Space: A Viable Fundraising Option
Does your group own buildings or other resources that are only used intermittently? Whether you’re raising funds for a school, nonprofit or other group, using your group’s space for rent isn’t an off-the-wall fundraising idea but a viable way to increase your fundraising income.
Many organizations and schools maintain facilities that may not be used on a day-to-day basis, or may not be used all day. Renting out rooms or even buildings when not in use can fund the building upkeep and provide additional income for your group’s mission.
Think of your premises as one of the most valuable commodities your organization can possess. With towns and cities becoming more crowded, venues with available space are increasingly in demand and suitable facilities for hire are quickly snapped up.
Special events need spaces for rent
In the United States, the number of functions held annually, represents an industry value of roughly five billion dollars and growing (Stats at IBISWorld.com). These gatherings consist mainly of private and corporate events and are considered a subsection of the hospitality industry. This doesn’t include smaller spaces for classes, group meetings or informal office rental.
Renting out space for private functions is a popular and straightforward means to raise funds. Suitable sites can provide venues for weddings and receptions. Where can people in your community hold a special anniversary celebration or a milestone achievement? Occasions like these often need larger venues than most suburban homes can accommodate.
Businesses need venues too
Businesses across all industries recognize the marketing value of hosting events and most companies must have meetings. This means that almost every business in your community will need a venue at some time or another.
Ongoing corporate events include conferences, network events, trade shows, product launches, seminars, training and holiday parties. Many of these types of functions take place several times a year.
Communities need diverse spaces
Depending on the scope and function of your organization’s premises, your nonprofit space for rent can cater to a variety of needs in your community:
- Consider renting facilities to small businesses or individuals that need work space. With an increasing number of people freelancing, many are in need of a workplace setting. By renting office space, they can get a professional environment with minimal financial outlay. (More about renting empty office space on bplans.com.)
- An auditorium with a stage or even a large hall for rent can be suitable for amateur dramatics or performing groups like bands, comedians or choirs looking for cheap rehearsal/performance space.
- A commercial kitchen can be rented to caterers on weekends but it can also be offered to small business initiatives, depending on your locale. There are programs on offer in some cities where small food operations can rent commercial space by the hour to produce food – think pesto, salsas or preserves – under inspected, up-to-code conditions that a home kitchen won’t have.
- Smaller buildings and premises can rent space to book clubs, knitting classes and other smaller groups in the community that need a place to hold meetings.
Think about the multiple ways your nonprofit space for rent could serve agricultural, business, educational, community, recreational, urban and youth interests.
Other on-site fundraising
When your charity premises are hosting various groups and functions, take advantage of the increased foot traffic by installing vending machines in passages and common areas. These will be much appreciated by the visitors and staff and are a good way of supplementing your other fundraising activities.
Start an on-site thrift store or charity shop and plug into the popularity of movements toward minimalism, green living, low-waste, and frugality. From goods and collectables for resale to oddities for salvage or recycling, there’s always money to be made in the resale market. (Read Used Books Fundraiser.)
Getting the word out
Offering your nonprofit space for rent is a lucrative fundraising strategy but how do you attract suitable people, groups or businesses to hire the facilities?
- The local chamber of commerce may advertise your nonprofit space to rent as a community service.
- Community newspapers are a good place to get the word out, especially if there is an online edition for the area.
- Craigslist is another option. Even though ads only post for a week, they can be re-listed.
- Contact any event planners, wedding organizers or caterers in your community and let them know you have a space available for hire – people are always looking for cool, new places to hold their celebrations.
- Talk to your local cooperative extension or small-business networks about the facilities you are offering.
Check out your local regulations
Often the income from renting out property as a nonprofit will be tax-exempt and for most organizations, the uses put forward here will not have an impact on tax status. However, all charities should check the specifics with their tax consultant.
Because the law and municipal regulations can differ from State to State and region to region, every charity will need to research the regulations that apply to their area.
While it may seem a departure from the mission, dollars earned by offering your nonprofit space for rent will allow your organization greater opportunity to do more good, with more impact.
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>> Read more articles by Cari Mostert
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