Creating a Strategic Fundraising Plan

Your organization needs a strategic fundraising plan if
  • You don’t have enough money to accomplish your mission in a manner you feel proud about
  • You sit at your desk and don’t know what initiative to work on first
  • Methods that worked for years are now yielding diminishing returns
  • You don’t know what it is costing you to raise funds
  • You’ve never had a plan and its time to get everyone on the same path

Phase 1: Work with staff to analyze current fundraising efforts. This will include:

  1. Direct mail—look at what is being sent, how often and R.O.I.
  2. Special Events—each event will be studied to see if it is worth the time, money and effort. (some events might be deemed valuable for marketing, rather than fundraising, and would be under the marketing budget rather than fund development)
  3. Planned giving—Are you ready for this? Do you have a program in place and is it working well? Do you have board members who are already planned givers?
  4. Product sales—will examine what you have that is salable and what can be developed.
  5. E-fundraising—examine current data base and examine how to “beef it up” for both product sales and on-line campaigns.
  6. Major donor fundraising—we will examine the data base and decide how to work more effectively with current large donors and long term donors to optimize relationships as well as plan a campaign to recruit new donors. We will also look to formalizing your stewardship program or tweak your existing one.
  7. Grant opportunities—We’ll look at your track record and how to increase your foundation dollars.
  8. Federal and State funds—We’ll determine if you are getting the optimal amount of funding from government sources
  9. Corporate fundraising/cause marketing—We’ll see if there are corporations that are a good fit for your mission and if relationships can be crafted into a cause marketing relationship or increases corporate funding
  10. Earned income—We’ll explore other sources of revenue for programs you already have
  11. There will be other opportunities that might arise as we look at what you are already doing well and matching talent to task.

Deliverable: A report that will benchmark where you are today. This will be in a excel form that is easy to read.

Time frame: This takes approximately 4-8 weeks depending on what materials are readily available and how complex the organization is and how long you have been in existence.

Phase 2: Work with development committee on creating a plan. The committee will be made up of board and staff so that this plan will easily go through committee, be actionable and successful. The work with the development committee will include:

  1. Looking at how the development committee is now functioning and where they would like to go
  2. Assign various members to explore opportunities in the community after looking at where you are today
  3. Start to set financial goals and look at the R.O.I. for each aspect of the program
  4. Create a strategy that cuts where initiatives are not bearing enough fruit and expands on opportunities

Deliverable: A plan that explores various options that is focused on people assigned to look into opportunities.

Time frame: This takes approximately 4-6 weeks and takes a minimum of two to three meetings. The first needs to be in person and the rest can be done by phone.

Phase 3: Putting together the plan with board and staff.

  1. We will do a careful analysis of the findings of the development committee
  2. We will look at each potential stream of revenue and prioritize which programs to begin with based on ease, R.O.I. and current talents of board and staff.
  3. We will begin to look at what should be kept “in house” and what you might want to farm out. This might include planned giving, special events, website development, direct mail, etc.

Deliverable: A plan to be written by Carol with financial goals, examining each potential stream of revenue and the thinking of the group as to how to approach it or not, and a time frame for implementation. Some projects might be in year 2 or 3 of the plan.

Time frame: Approximately 4 weeks

Phase 4: Present plan to the board for approval. Ideally, this would be done with the entire board as part of a retreat. This would include:

  1. Board members signing on to what they will be doing.
  2. Debate, discussion and rigorous review of the work on the consultant, fundraising committee and staff.
  3. A look at the governance structure and nominating procedures to decide what skills and talents are needed with-in the board to move forward.
  4. Discuss governance structure to decide what needs to be in place to implement the plan. This might involve additional committees or using advisors differently.
  5. Sign off by board on exactly what they are going to do to implement the plan.
  6. Review of budget incase additional tasks need funding i.e. web development, planned giving etc.

Deliverable: Board approved fundraising plan and commitment from each board member as to their role in implementing the plan.

Time frame: This phase is best accomplished through a board retreat. Approximate time 4 hours for retreat to be scheduled on weekday evening or Saturday morning based on preference of your organization.

Phase 5: Monitor plan: Carol would work with board and staff to make sure that all is going well. This would include:

  1. Reviewing current plan with the development committee
  2. Making changes where needed to estimated income or expenditures
  3. Looking at changing fundraising mix if new opportunities are available or if there are changes with current funders (bankruptcies, major changes to economic climate, new government initiatives etc)
  4. Determine if additional board or staff training is needed and create a plan to implement.

Deliverable: Updated fundraising plan.

Time frame: Time-3-6 months of board and staff time. Approximately 8-20 hours per month.

Total Investment: Plans start at $12,000 depending on how many of the phases you choose to do and the complexity of your organization and where you are in terms of your leadership.

I need Carol to