7 Mistakes in Your Nonprofit's Fundraising Plan
I can’t tell you how often I hear nonprofit leaders complain about how difficult it is to raise money, how tired they are of banging their heads against the wall, how difficult this economy is. Well, there really is a better way. And it starts with a really good money plan for your organization. But again and again I see the same mistakes being made in nonprofit fundraising plans.
Here are the seven mistakes to avoid in your fundraising plan:
1. Not having a plan at all
Yeah, not even having a plan is a huge mistake. It boggles my mind how many nonprofit organizations expect that money will magically appear at their doorsteps. It takes an overall money strategy, what I call a financing plan, to effectively marshal your resources (staff, board, other volunteers, technology, materials) so enough, and the right kind of, money comes in the door to achieve your goals.
2. Creating just a one-year plan
You cannot expect to create a financially sustainable organization if you only plan for money one year at a time. Your financing plan should project at least three years into the future in order to ensure that you have sound financial footing from which to operate. A true financial strategy takes a long view and plans accordingly.
3. Including only private dollars
Your money strategy must include all sources of money flowing to your organization, making it a financing plan. You cannot just plan for individual, corporate and foundation dollars. You also must plan for how government and earned income sources will flow, if they are appropriate to your model. And if you don’t have other sources of money beyond private dollars, you probably need to at least explore whether diversifying makes sense for your organization.
4. Not connecting it to your strategic plan
OK, I’m going to assume that your nonprofit has a strategic plan, even though many nonprofits don’t or have a poor one. But once you have a strategic plan in place, you have to connect your money strategy to that plan. What good is it to have lofty program goals if you have no idea what those goals will cost (expenses) and how you will raise the money to make them a reality (revenue)? You must have a multiyear financing plan that directly relates to your multiyear strategic plan.