Fundraising planning is one of those things that is so easy to push off. There are so many other priorities that take precedence, and before you know it another year has gone by and you’re still running, day after day, trying to catch up (as if ‘catching up’ was even possible in the fundraising world!). So, over the next few weeks, I’ll be talking specifically about planning.
The first task as we begin to pull together a fundraising plan is to gather some information. That alone can seem overwhelming. Here are three basic things you can take a look at:
- What are your past results? The most common way to look at this is to run a report that shows you fundraising results by appeal type (ie events, direct mail, major gifts, etc.). You’ll also want to look at that in context of expenses that are associated with each of those areas. And for events, yes you do want to factor in staff time.
- What resources do you have to work with? Most commonly, people think of financial resources, but this also includes volunteers, board members who are engaged in fundraising, visibility of the organization, partnerships with other agencies… In other words, anything that will give you a step up in terms of growing awareness about your organization, building relationships and/or asking for money.
- What is your goal? No – just saying you need ‘more’ money is not enough. Be specific. You need to know what that money will be able to accomplish – not just in terms of the specifics of what that money will pay for – but also related to what impact those investments will have on the community. How will the community you serve be better?
So what do you think? What additional information do you gather to help you prepare for your planning process?