Fundraising Planning: What do you Need?

blueprintIn the first post in this series, we talked about what you need to know in order to start pulling together a fundraising plan. Did you know that one of the biggest indicators to success in a campaign is to have a plan? It makes sense, because if you don’t have a clear idea of where you’re aiming it’s really easy to get distracted without even realizing it’s happened!

Now on to some things you need to have to be successful. There are three things. Well, in an ideal situation you’d have all three of these things, but you could probably get by with just having two. However if you have just one, you’ll have to determine how to get one out of the other two. (Hopefully you were able to follow that line of logic.)

Here they are: Time, Money and People. Again, you need at least two of these components in order to run a successful campaign.

  • Time: This could be staff time or volunteer time or a combination of the two. But someone (or some people) would need to have time to go out and meet with people, build relationships and eventually ask for money. This should be someone with a high level of familiarity with your organization and someone who will have the respect of those who may be in a position to provide funding for you.
  • Money: Yes, it takes money to make money. So having some finances to invest can be very helpful. This can be used to hire a consultant or staff person to help, send out mailings, purchase a donor database, etc. And by the way, once you hit about 200 donors you must have some sort of system to manage contacts and help ensure that your fundraising program is staying on track. Specific goals (and the ability to track your progress towards them) is another strong indicator of success for a fundraising program.
  • Personal Relationships: Finally, people. That is, contacts. A group of people you think would have a predisposition to give funding to your organization. If your organization has been around for a while, you probably have a database of people who have already supported your organization. Perhaps you have a strong base of volunteers or have alumni you can reach out to, or happy patients, or parents or … I think you get the picture.

So time, money and people. Do you have all three? Great – you’re ready to get moving! Have two out of three? You can feel comfortable progressing, but I recommend caution in ensuring you are really strong in those two areas.

But, let’s say you’re realizing at this point that you really only have one of these areas covered. I strongly recommend that you start working on a strategy to build up in one of the other areas before trying to move forward. You’ll most likely save yourself time, frustration and potentially burnout (and let’s face it – there’s not much that’s less sexy to a potential funder than a burned out asker).

So, are you ready to start moving forward with pulling a fundraising plan together? Join me in my next post when I’ll cover three essential components of your fundraising plan.

Have any thoughts to share? Please post them below.

 

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