Creating Your Road Map for Fundraising Success
"If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up somewhere else." — Yogi Berra
In the fundraising profession, it's essential to have a plan. I recall when I first decided to develop a formal fundraising plan. It was when I set the goal to earn my CFRE and knew our department needed a more intentional and focused approach. My CEO had never asked for one, but I realized it was needed.
Initially it was a tedious job as I researched benchmarking data — which often led to more questions and additional research. But once I saw potential, I became excited about the process — as well as the results. I soon realized there were things that we needed to stop doing and others we should do be doing. And there was a lot more data that we needed to track.
Planning is all about organizing your activities in order to achieve a desired goal.
Your development plan should meet you where you are. For some, it could be just a few pages — even a one-page outline to start. For complex organizations, it could exceed 100 pages.
A plan provides the needed focus on areas of greatest return, aligning resources with your major goals. It helps you make decisions and can provide justification when you need to decline opportunities that will drain resources and diminish your focus — and therefore diminish your return. It keeps you on track with clear goals, measurable objectives, calendars, strategies, budget parameters, and responsibilities for staff and volunteers.
Plans need to be consistently measured and fine-tuned to help you remain on task. Your plan will age beautifully when it receives your ongoing attention. You will find that your plan — and the results — improve over time.
Looking for Jeff? You'll find him either on the lake, laughing with good friends, or helping nonprofits develop to their full potential.
Jeff believes that successful fundraising is built on a bedrock of relevant, consistent messaging; sound practices; the nurturing of relationships; and impeccable stewardship. And that organizations that adhere to those standards serve as beacons to others that aspire to them. The Bedrocks & Beacons blog will provide strategic information to help nonprofits be both.
Jeff has more than 25 years of nonprofit leadership experience and is a member of the NonProfit PRO Editorial Advisory Board.