The 4 Stages of PLAN
There are three months left in your fiscal year, and your expense budget is gone. Potentially successful fundraising efforts are shelved because there isn't any money left.
Sound familiar? Unfortunately, it happens too often, and nonprofits miss opportunities because the fundraising plan ran out of steam long before the year ran out.
Regardless of where you are in the fiscal year, here are four things to do right now to help you avoid the dreaded conclusion, "We can't because there is no more money."
No matter when your fiscal year begins, if you don't have a living fundraising plan in place -- and by living, I mean one that you are actually following, not just the one you had to put together for the board of directors -- do it now. Begin with what you know you must do (year-end appeals, for example), and then add in other fundraising communications in priority order.
Think multichannel; how can you send your message to your donors in multiple formats for maximum impact? What changes will be needed on your website to complement your fundraising efforts? How can you stretch your dollars both to communicate to your donors in the ways they wish to hear from you, and last all year long?
Put the plan in writing and post a copy where you will see it every day. A plan that never goes beyond your spreadsheet software or your desk drawer (or worse, your brain) isn't going to impact your day-to-day decision-making.
You've got your plan, so follow it. If it calls for an e-mail to be sent on June 1 and a direct-mail appeal to drop on July 1, figure out what you need to do to make them happen. If you are going to need a human interest story to add "heart," schedule time for an interview. Request the photos, or the endorsement. Be sure your letter signer will be available for copy approval, if required.
Pamela consults with nonprofits, helping them develop their fundraising strategy and writing copy to achieve their goals. Additionally, she teaches fundraising at two universities, hoping to inspire the next generation of fundraisers to be passionate about the profession. Previously, Pamela led the fundraising programs for nonprofit organizations. Pamela is a member of the Advisory Panel for Rogare, the fundraising think tank at Plymouth University’s Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy, a CFRE, a graduate of Wheaton College (IL) and Dominican University, and holds a Doctorate in Business Administration from California Southern University. Contact Pamela at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @pjbarden.