Creative Access to Capital: How Nonprofits Can Use Direct Public Offerings

SVPI 09/15/2022

If you’re interested in unlocking capital and a more creative approach to fundraising, you’re not alone. Access to pliable capital, to be used for general operations and research and development projects is key if nonprofits want to stay nimble and responsive in a changing world. 

Perhaps it’s time to expand the way we engage with stakeholders?  While a Direct Public Offering (DPO) isn’t traditional for a nonprofit – it could be a strategic way to raise both engagement, investment and cash. A DPO allows donors to gain interest on their investment in a non-profit, providing a path for donors to receive repayment of their gifts at the end of a five-year term. As nonprofits open themselves up to these kinds of funds, they can prove their investment in long-term viability to the community and show their leadership team is willing to be creative to stay relevant in a fast-changing business landscape. 

TechSoup, a nonprofit that provides IT support to community groups, decided to try out a DPO to raise funds for operations. They published the results of their experiment in the Stanford Social Innovation Review.

Here at SVPI we know that donor education is key for our long term success – and a DPO is no different. Since these are an emerging funding approach, most donors are unaware of what a DOP is and what it requires from them. This creates a huge opportunity for engagement, conversation and exploration along the way – one way to truly change philanthropy-as-usual and reimagine giving with your donors. 

Questions to be asking in your philantropic practice:

  • How can creative financing offerings help your fundraising appeal to new donors or get existing donors to engage more actively with your SVP?
  • What would it take for your network to support a Direct Public Offering campaign? 

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