5 Ways to Identify Your Real Fundraising Potential
It's the time of year for goal setting and planning for the coming busy year. How much can you really raise? How much might you be leaving on the table? Just take a step back with a clear-eyed assessment of what you have to work with:
1. First, look at your current results and trends.
You should be able to see where your opportunities might be if you sharpen up your focus.
- What results are you getting from your various fundraising strategies?
- What are the trends in your fundraising programs?
- What's working and what's not working so well?
2. Ask yourself, your staff and trusted board members where you might be leaving money on the table.
- Brainstorm with them about potential relationships you might be able to develop — people, companies and foundations they know.
- Play the VIP Prospect Game with them: Get them visioning some doors you could open. You might even get them volunteering to open the doors.
3. Evaluate your fundraising opportunities.
I bet you have some special opportunities that you could plan on to your advantage. Take a look around. You might find some surprises you can play up and run with.
- A great location in town?
- A cause that is suddenly very popular?
- Were you recently in the news?
- A very popular gala or event.
- A new team member you can make into a "personality" or celebrity via PR?
- New Internet or social-media talent joining your team?
- A board that is suddenly interested in helping?
- A new CEO who brings in expertise or relationships?
4. Take a hard look at your challenges.
If you want to know how much you can raise, you must be willing to acknowledge what's not working so well.
- Are you losing too many donors each year?
- Have you cut your fundraising budget and staff but not your fundraising expectations?
- Is your staff totally run ragged?
- Is your database a mess (don't worry — almost everyone's is!)?
- Is your signature event losing steam?
Perhaps you can turn these challenges into opportunities. I bet you can!
5. See if there are some major relationships or coalitions you could create.
Sometimes amazing results can happen by building key relationships. Your board members can really help here. Engage them in a big-picture discussion about key relationships and networks your organization might be able to foster. Can you team up with another entity — governmental, philanthropic, other nonprofits? Maybe a key relationship could catapult your organization into a whole new level.
Bottom line: Now is the time to step back and take a clear-eyed assessment of where you are, what you have to work with and how best to go forward. If you do, you'll sleep better at night in the coming year!