A nonprofit organization’s year-long plan for fundraising and development is crucial. It can be an intensive and extensive project. So, where do you begin? Here are some tips & topics to get you started.
1. Have a Written Plan
An organization must have a written development and fundraising plan to be successful. Scraps of paper, napkins & post-it notes don’t count. The plan does not have to be an epic. In fact, if your organization is just starting out with a comprehensive fundraising & development plan, then consider a plan of ten pages.
2. State Your Goal Clearly
Sounds pretty basis, doesn’t it? Well, make sure you know the difference between your budget and your fundraising goal. And, make sure your entire leadership team is aware, understands and has buy-in in the fundraising goal. You may want to consider a multi-year plan or projections, as well.
3. Estimate Resources Required
Be sure to include an estimate of the amount of time the staff, board members and volunteers will need to spend to make sure your development and fundraising plan succeeds. Additionally, be sure to include the hard-costs you will incur, such as postage, website development/maintenance, and special events.
4. Create a Timeline
Create a timeline that covers the entire year, identifies specific events and identifies the individuals who will take the lead for each event or project. The timeline likely will change throughout the year; however, having an initial written timeline will increase your likelihood of success.
5. Identify Specific Funding Sources
Review your current funding sources. Look at the actual numbers–not what you think they are. Then, think creatively about how you might be able to leverage your current resources and expand your funding sources. Consider funding sources from:
–Foundation & Foundation Grants
–Product Sales/Earned Income
6. Create an Evaluation Plan
Organizations that evaluate increase their success. Periodically evaluate whether your plan is effective, and then modify your plan or your implementation to get the results you want. Plan to evaluate at 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months and 18 months. You also will need criteria to evaluate. I call them Criteria for Success. Consider the following:
–Did your organization meet its financial goals?
–Did your organization meet your donor cultivation goals?
–How effective was your email fundraising campaign?
–Which fundraising tools were most effective?
–What were the three biggest factors in the successes?
–What were the three biggest challenges?
–Were your staff, board and volunteers prepared?
You are now on your way to great fundraising success!