The 7,005 nonprofit organizations that call San Francisco home are an important part of our City’s unique fabric. San Francisco nonprofits deliver critical services to support the most vulnerable in our communities and enrich and expand our appreciation of diverse arts and cultures.
The City relies on a large number of nonprofits to help make San Francisco great – 690 nonprofit organizations received City payments for goods and services in Fiscal Year 2015-16. Nonprofit businesses employ 17% of the City's workforce in a wide range of jobs including doctors, lawyers, artists, counselors, executives, educators and more.
The Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) is committed to supporting the long-term health of the San Francisco nonprofit sector. This page is designed to help nonprofit organizations navigate a variety of tools and resources that can help your nonprofit start, stay and grow in San Francisco.
The resources on this page are separated into the following categories:
- Resources for Nonprofit Space Stabilization
- Finding the Right Space for Your Organization
- Resources for Strategic Alliances and Strategic Restructuring
- City Resources for Nonprofits
- Funding Opportunities
- Additional Resources
Technical and Financial Assistance
Nonprofit Space Stabilization Program: $1,455,000 to address urgent needs by providing grants for one-time costs to help nonprofits navigate space transitions and activate underutilized space. Organizations with leases for 3-4 years may apply for grants up to $50,000 for professional services (architectural, engineering, legal); rent stipend; moving expenses; or furnishings, fixtures, and equipment. Organizations with leases of 5 years or longer may apply for grants up to $75,000 for the expenses listed above as well as tenant improvements.
Technical Assistance for Shared Spaces: Northern California Community Loan Fund (NCCLF) will build skills of nonprofits seeking to better understand and evaluate shared space opportunities, articulate a shared space vision, and achieve shared goals. Cohorts of two or more organizations may apply. Cohorts will be asked to identify a set of shared goals, which may include one or more of the following: below market or stabilized rents, reduced cost and/or higher-quality shared services and amenities, a level of intentional collaboration between organizations, centralized services or program offerings.
In May 2014, a Working Group on Nonprofit Displacement comprised of City departments and nonprofit stakeholders released a report and set of recommendations on how the City can better help nonprofits facing displacement.
In October 2013, the SF Board of Supervisors’ Budget and Legislative Analyst released a report on the impact that increasing rents are having on San Francisco nonprofits.
Staff members from OEWD, the Mayor's Office of Housing and Community Development, and the San Francisco Arts Commission participated in Northern California Grantmakers' Nonprofit Displacement Report and community briefings, an ongoing effort to address nonprofit displacement regionally.
If you’re having difficulty finding program and office space for your organization, a number of tools exist to help you find space to meet your needs.
Learning the Landscape - Real Estate 101
Six Leasing Tips for Nonprofits - a guide for basic terms and planning by Lara Jakubowski, Executive Director at Nonprofit Centers Network
Guide to Commercial Leases - an in-depth explanation of lease terms from Public Counsel
Learning the Landscape - Capital Projects & Campaigns
Campaign Feasability Interview Template - Example questionnaire for nonprofits considering a capital campaign
Getting and Managing a Construction Grant – Henry Flood outlines what’s available and what to consider when applying.
Planning A Capital Campaign for Grassroots Groups – Kim Klein outlines some considerations when planning a major fundraising initiative
Nonprofit Space Odyssey: A Capital Projects Primer – Introduction to Capital Projects for Nonprofits
Long-Term Office Space Needs
If your nonprofit organization is looking for long term office space, you may be eligible for assistance from one of the City programs listed above. A number of online tools can also help you search for long-term office space, including Loopnet, 42Floors, Rofo and Craigslist.
Short-Term Office Space Needs
Looking for short-term space to hold a meeting, conference or community event? Liquid Space and Peerspace are services to help businesses and organizations interested in short-term uses find space to meet their needs.
Performing Arts Spaces
Bay Area Performing Arts Spaces is a searchable database of performing arts venues and facilities in the greater Bay Area for performances, classes, workshops, auditions, rehearsals, special events and more.
Co-Location & Space Sharing
Increasingly, businesses facing rising office rents are exploring co-location, co-working and other space-sharing arrangements. As noted in the Working Group on Nonprofit Displacement’s 2014 report:
Organizations can benefit from partnering together to search for shared space; organizations that might not be large enough or have the scale necessary to rent space may benefit from joining up with one, two, or more other organizations that are aligned in terms of interest and mission. Organizations may also be able to maximize space by sharing certain back office functions such as finance, human resource, and IT. Organizations can also explore the possibility of co-working and sharing the same workspace, following the model in use by smaller commercial start-ups that share desk space, often in incubator spaces.
A 2011 report published at gsa.gov outlines space-saving alternative workspace solutions such as telecommuting, hot desks and hoteling, and includes several benchmark organizations with examples of office sqft used.
Advice and assessment to nonprofits considering strategic alliances, partnerships and next steps
A knowledge base of toolkits, research, and best practices along with in-person learning sessions
Referrals to skilled, experienced service providers including pro bono legal assistance and experienced paid consultants specializing in nonprofit strategic partnerships; and
Technical assistance grants to selected nonprofits to explore a long-term or permanent strategic collaboration.
Whether your nonprofit contracts with the City and County of San Francisco or not, the City offers a number of tools and resources to assist San Francisco nonprofits:
- Board Governance and Financial Management - The Office of the Controller’s Citywide Nonprofit Monitoring and Capacity Building Program resources include a page of Resources for Nonprofits with helpful links to capacity-building tools for financial management, board governance, understanding cost allocation and other relevant topics.
- Curriculum Development & Program Assessment - The Deparment of Children, Youth & Their Families has consolidated tools for curriculum development and program assessment, as well as other resources.
- Family Friendly Workplace - The Department on the Status of Women offers resources for implementing a Family Friendly Workplace initiative.
- Furniture and Office Supplies - The City & County of San Francisco Virtual Warehouse is an online system maintained by the Department of the Environment to help facilitate the reuse of City goods and equipment. In addition to City departments, the Virtual Warehouse is also open to non-profits.
- Job Incentives & Recruitment - If you are growing and thinking about creating a new job, the Jobs Now! initiative can assist you with posting and recruiting for a new position. You may be eligible for partial reimbursement of wages when you create a new, permanent job. Call 1 (877) JOB1-NOW for more information on how to register.
- Qualifying as a City Vendor - Nonprofits interested in seeking City contracts must qualify to do business with the City. The Office of Contract Administration has created a useful page explaining how to become qualified to do business with the City.
- Neigborhood-specific Business Assistance - Depending on your location (and where your organization provides services), you may be located in or provide services to a neighborhood that is part of Mayor Lee's Invest in Neighborhoods, an inter-agency partnership to strengthen and revitalize neighborhood commercial districts by deploying economic development services and other resources.
A number of City departments regularly announce funding opportunities for San Francisco nonprofits. For more information about current RFP and grant opportunities, please see each department’s web site below:
- Department of Children, Youth & Their Families
- Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs
- Office of Economic and Workforce Development
- Grants for the Arts
- Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing
- Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development
- Human Rights Commission
- Human Services Agency
- Department of Public Health
- Department on the Status of Women
- San Francisco Arts Commission
- San Francisco Film Commission
Organizations Supporting Nonprofits
The following organizations provide a variety of resources to San Francisco nonprofits:
- The 1+ program of Public Architecture connects nonprofit organizations in need of design assistance with architecture and design firms willing to donate their time on a pro bono basis.
- Bay Area Video Coalition's Preservation Access Program provides subsidized video and audio preservation services to small and mid-sized arts and culture organizations.
- The Board Match is an annual event produced by The Volunteer Center to help nonprofits connect with skilled individuals looking to get involved on a deeper level.
- A number of employment training programs place full-time or part-time trainees in San Francisco, including the Center for International Exchange, Self Help for the Elderly, Year Up and Felton Institute’s Works Program.
- CORP (Community Organization Representation Project) is a project of the Justice & Diversity Center's (JDC) Legal Services Program and its mission is to provide free business law services to nonprofit organizations that directly serve low-income and underserved communities in Northern California. Volunteer attorneys offer legal services in employment, corporate, contract, real estate, tax, and intellectual property law.
- The San Francisco Human Services Network is an association of over 110 community-based nonprofit agencies united into a public policy organization dedicated to addressing issues critical to the health and human services sector of San Francisco.
- The Foundation Center’s San Francisco office offer nonprofits free access to information resources and educational programs. For additional information on technical assistance providers for nonprofits, see this list of community resources.
- CompassPoint works to increase the impact of nonprofit community-based organizations through a range of high-impact capacity-building services.Their online resources include a document library with over 90 articles, templates and tools.
- Philanthropy By Design is a volunteer network of design industry professionals who renovate the interior environments of community service organizations.
- Rebuilding Together mobilizes teams of volunteer to aid in renovating nonprofit facilities.
- The San Francisco Study Center's Fiscal Sponsor Directory connects new projects with fiscal sponsors.
- The Taproot Foundation works to connect nonprofit organizations to pro bono resources in marketing, design, technology, management, and strategic planning.
- TechSoup connects nonprofits with donated or discounted software, services, and technology.
- VolunteerMatch connects nonprofits with local volunteers. More than 2,000 volunteer opportunities are listed in San Francisco.
Private Sector Resources for Nonprofits
- Box.org offers nonprofits of any size 10 starter addition licenses for its content managment system.
- Docusign Professional, helps nonprofit businesses easily and securely sign and request signatures on donor gift forms, volunteer waivers, HR paperwork and more.
- eBay offers a variety of fundraising resources for nonprofits through eBay Giving Works.
Google's Community Space provides nonprofit with access to free event space and coworking areas.
- LinkedIn’s LinkedIn for Nonprofits tools help organizations identify potential volunteers, board members, employees, and donors.
- Lynda.com offers training courses in financial management, Microsoft Office and human resources. Access many courses for free with a San Francisco Public Library card
- Salesforce Foundation offers up to 10 free Enterprise Edition Salesforce licenses for qualified nonprofits.
- Twilio.org qualified nonprofits can receive discounts on Twilio services including SMS Messaging, Voice Calls, Client Calls and Recording.
- Yapacopia connects nonprofits to potential donors through the insurance buying process.
Eligibility guidelines for private sector businesses vary, please contact the business with questions about eligibility. If you have a suggestion for a nonprofit resource, please send it to email@example.com.
Note: While every effort has been made to include only high-quality resources, OEWD does not supervise all of these organizations and does not guarantee the quality of the information or services they provide.
Image credits (top to bottom): Valerie, a client, and Larkin Street Youth Services executive director Sherilyn Adams; future home of Root Division; Gray Area Art & Technology’s new home on Mission Street; Bay Area Video Coalition youth. Number of registered nonprofits courtesy of the State of California Franchise Tax Board, https://www.ftb.ca.gov/businesses/Exempt_organizations/Entity_list.shtml. List last updated April 17, 2017.