The 4 Stages of PLAN
Sometimes "making do" is our only option. But when we live our fundraising plan every day, making sure we are constantly moving forward on it, we're less likely to end up sacrificing what we know is best for what we can get with minimal effort.
Living our plan is important, but flexibility is what makes that plan a vibrant tool. As the months go by, make changes based on what you're learning -- from your donors, from articles and seminars, and from colleagues in your nonprofit.
Your program staff is launching a new initiative in October? Great! How will you communicate that to your donors so they can share in the excitement? You want to incorporate e-mail appeals using best practices that you learned about in a webinar? How can you do that and still have money left to accomplish your plans for the last few months of the year? Wise adjustments that are thought through can mean a budget that stretches to cover the entire year.
A fundraising plan needs to be protected. You've created your plan based on best practices and past success. Don't give in to pressure to make changes without careful evaluation.
Will changing the theme of that mailing hurt the response rate? What will the impact be of sending your donors an e-mail inviting them to volunteer? Will mailing to deeply lapsed donors be profitable long-term?
None of these are bad things. But if they result in more expense and less income, you could find yourself short on budget for fundraising before the year is over.
Sometimes your best efforts to prepare, live, adjust and nurture your fundraising plan seem to be sabotaged by other needs in the organization. If that happens, don't give up. Fundraising is a journey; sometimes we make a wrong turn, but with a good map, we often have an opportunity to get back on course.