A nonprofit fundraising plan is the best way to ensure your organization sees success when it comes to development this year!
Here are the four most important steps to creating a successful nonprofit fundraising plan of your own.
1. Review Your Past Successes
Before you start planning for the next year, you'll want to review last year. What were your finances like? Did you achieve the growth you hoped for?
Review your organization's mission, and define again what it is you're trying to do. Don't skip this step—even if your nonprofit has been around for a long time and is well-established, you might be surprised at the value placing your mission top of mind can bring to the longer planning process.
It's easy to get caught up in the race for resources—certainly, the vast majority of nonprofits are feeling the pinch. But when funds are limited, it makes more sense to limit yourself to the activities you know are most aligned with your overall purpose. Dedicate your time, energy, and money to the foundational strategies that will move you further.
2. Choose Your Activities
What are the resources and activities you'll include in your nonprofit fundraising plan?
There are many strategies to choose from—like individual giving and major donors, grant funding, events, direct mail appeals, corporate giving strategies, a push for monthly recurring donations, capital campaigns, email marketing, crowdfunding, and more.
Be discerning with your choices, though, and beware of overcommitting yourself or putting your eggs in too few baskets. Both are dangerous mistakes!
You might even start by directly naming the trends or strategies you aren't willing to try. Narrowing down the list of possibilities can be a great first step toward honing in on the things that are, actually, great fits for your nonprofit.
3. Set Appropriate Goals
You know what they say about a plan without goals... So make sure you set them!
Your fundraising goals must be rooted in both your need as an organization and the reality of your nonprofit's size and connections. So be ambitious and set stretch goals—but don't set yourself up to fail.
Set mini-goals throughout the year, as well; these will help you assess periodically whether you're on track to meet your overall funding goal. Maybe you're looking to increase your donor base by 10 percent, raise 25 percent more than usual at your annual fundraising event, or win 15 percent more in grant funding for the year.
Three or four goals is a great place to start. More than that can feel overwhelming unless you have a big team!
4. Assign Tasks and Timelines
The final step of any fundraising plan is to associate dates with your goals and activities—put it all on a calendar!
Plotting your nonprofit fundraising plan out over the course of a year allows you and your team to take the time you need to be successful. It also gives you "deadlines," or timelines on which to measure your success throughout the year.
Begin by filling in anything you know is already on the calendar. This can include holidays, major events, unique program considerations, events, board meetings, vacations, deadlines, or anything else that means it's not business as usual.
Don't forget to delegate! Even the best plans can fall by the wayside if there's no ownership identified. Assign staff roles to each deadline and activity; that person should remain responsible and accountable for your organization's progress in that area.
It's important to have a detailed nonprofit fundraising plan... But it's also important to stay flexible. Life happens—and the past couple of years have taught us that the world can change quickly.
Listen to your community, your staff, and your donors. If you need to course-correct for any reason throughout the year, don't be afraid to do so!