Fundraising may sound like a simple event with small activities aimed at attracting people to chip in for something you believe in. In reality, fundraising can be anything but simple. Any professional fundraiser would tell you how detailed and intricate the whole process is. For a fundraiser to be a success, it must come with its own strategic plan.
A strategic plan is a thorough study of the goals of the fundraiser and how to reach them. Professional fundraisers say that an unplanned fundraiser is not as effective or as sustainable as a planned fundraiser, since a plan has already covered the ups and downs, theoretically. Therefore, if a calamity does hit them, they are better prepared to withstand it and go around it to be efficient (Perry, 2007).
A strategic fundraising plan would incorporate four main points
1. Goal: The amount the organization strives to raise in the identified year
2. Mission: The organization's mission statement and how the funds go in line with the statement
3. Method: How the money will be raised
4. Timeline: Time bound goals and methods to measure effectiveness (Sargeant & Jay, 2010).
Here are a few tips for strategic fundraising planners:
Make a Strong Case
A fundraiser always has a purpose. Ensure a solid specific case statement for the people. This would describe the organization, the purpose of the campaign and how the plan of the fundraiser is in line with the mission of the organization. The fundraising plan needs to have actions that would drive the campaign to achieve specific goals from a large group of investors or money sources (Sargeant & Shang, 2010).
Choose the Right Team
A reasonable team for the fundraiser is important. Gather experienced nonprofit workers who have knowledge of the proceedings. The team will be responsible for research, looking for prospects, sending out invites, etc. (Burnett, 2007).
Have a Realistic Goal
Know that fundraising is not an easy job; it is laborious and it takes time. Keep expectations realistic so motivation isn't lost. Goals should be long term and be focused since there are a multitude of non-profit companies fighting for similar grants (Burnett, 2007).
Know the Target Audience
Most large institutional foundations are usually one-time donors. This is mostly because they wish to have a larger impact and wish to help more people. Therefore, individual donors need to be celebrated and met with similar enthusiasm. Second-time donations need to be highlighted, since they show the effectiveness of your organization. Search for donor prospects and know your supporter base. Focus on places where funding is most probable (Sargeant & Jay, 2004).
Going to donors and simply asking for checks is the old way. Get creative. Think of ways to negotiate the deal and keep it for your benefit. Asking the donor to give small amounts in a spread out manner is a good way. Or, make a deal that a certain benchmark achieved would be the key to release of funds by the donor. This develops trust and would be more beneficial to raise funds (Perry, 2007).
Being prepared for anything you desire to do is one of the key standings for guaranteed success. Highs and lows always need to be taken into account to ensure that the road to success is not blocked. Yes, unexpected things happen and plans fail, but statistics show that a planned fundraiser captures a bigger market and has a greater sustainability than unplanned fundraisers. Moreover, employees across the organization understand the goals, keeping them motivated and organized for greater benefits. It does take time and probably even double the time of the task to make a plan. However, in the end, the results will be worth the trouble (Sargeant & Jay, 2010).
Burnett, J. (2007). Nonprofit marketing best practices. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley.
Perry, G. (2007). Fired-up fundraising. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley.
Sargeant, A. & Jay, E. (2004). Building donor loyalty. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Sargeant, A. & Jay, E. (2010). Fundraising management. London: Routledge.
Sargeant, A. & Shang, J. (2010). Fundraising principles and practice. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Chris Bouchard is a creative coach who helps artists and non-profits position themselves for success and realize their full potential. An accomplished grant writer and fundraising consultant, Chris started his business in 2013 to help small non-profits through the sometimes overwhelming prospect of navigating the world of social business. To contact Chris, please visit his coaching website at https://usafundraising.com