Diversify, Diversify, Diversify
In 2005, WWIN established a systematic cultivation plan to increase contributions and create sustainable annual funding for programs.
“That plan increased contributions by approximately 400 percent over a four-year period, enabling us to meet our strategic-plan goals related to more funding to allow us to serve more low-income women each year,” Batter says. “Since we’ve increased the number of donors and dollars raised, we’re now able to explore other capital and endowment possibilities.”
Develop a funding audit
Whether you’re just starting to diversify or simply looking to revisit your current strategy, a funding assessment is critical. Although you might live and breathe these details, the rest of your organization or board might not. A documented funding audit can be an organization’s saving grace when staff or board members leave the organization, or when potential funders need additional information before making a donation decision.
Your funding audit should be simple, using the best and most up-to-date information available. The key is in documenting and sharing pertinent details, such that you have a baseline to understand which funds are at risk, and at what levels. In general, funding audits should include:
● your current funding mix. For example: percent federal, state or other public funds; percent private foundation grants; percent fee for service; percent individual contributions; percent corporate funds; percent special events; percent other;
● restrictions or conditions placed on each funding source;
● longevity and predictability of each funding source;
● current funding gaps; and
● gaps that could occur one, two or three years down the road.
Another key component in assessing your organization’s current funding situation is determining the true cost of fund acquisition. You should not only think about the actual expenses surrounding a campaign, but also the staff time.
There could be some fundraising activities that require equal amounts of time but produce vastly different results. For example, writing a $5,000 grant proposal could take just as long as writing a $50,000 proposal, or a special event might take all of one person’s staff time but not net the desired results.