Have a Plan: Your Process Strengthens Results
A process is "a systematic series of actions directed to some end."
The process in strategic planning, for example, can even be more important than the resulting plan. If you conduct planning as a process and not an event, have a proven outside facilitator and let the process work without a leader trying to control it (after all a plan is about the organization, not one person), the results are phenomenal. You have more insight to select priorities and direction, and a high level of buy-in to spur implementation and ensure accountability.
The same is true for a campaign planning and feasibility study. In the study process, you have a laser focus on development and fine-tuning of a prospective donor list, building the base and then focusing on those top donors whose participation will make or break the campaign. During the study process, with many inputs, the prospective donor list will change regularly.
At the same time, your case for support is continually refined—and challenged—so that the document that the prospective donors see is far better than the first draft. And then the campaign’s first fundraising draft is even further advanced thanks to the insight of those interviewed in the study. Further, the study allows you to address key issues and questions before asking for the first gift, and gives you an idea of your current fundraising potential and the steps that can enhance it.
Likewise, a development plan, based on research and benchmarks, will have a process that vitalizes the organizations, engages key leaders, and sheds light on strengths and weaknesses.
Investing in the time to plan will accelerate your results. It’s not a step backward. It is not pausing. It is ensuring your success. Take time to plan, then implement the plan, and you’ll soar to new heights!
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.