A Fundraising Plan in 9 steps
I hope that if you had Bank Holiday Monday off, like we had in Ireland, that you had a nice break.
If you didn’t have a holiday yesterday I hope your week got off to a great start!
I was speaking to a coaching client last week about creating a fundraising plan. They are new in their role and their new organisation has never had a fundraising plan. You might find it crazy or unusual even for any nonprofit to not have a clear fundraising plan/strategy/road-map in place but believe me it is way more common for organisations to not have a plan than to have one.
Often when I ask a board, CEO or fundraiser for their fundraising plan or strategy it comes down to little more than: We’d like to increase the income from xx event and maybe do something online at Christmas.
Now if you know me at all you’ll know I’m NOT by nature a planner. I’m excited by the newest ideas, distracted by the shiny technology and no more interested in analyzing the last 4 years income than you are.
But I have learned.
I learned that if I want to be excited by the new idea or to invest some time in a new technology I need to have a clear understanding of how, why and where this might fit in to my organisation.
It’s all well and good thinking that cycling events are the cats pajamas (I don’t know where I got that phrase from) but if you have a jam packed summer events calendar already then you need to understand what event you can/should move, change or cancel to make space for your new cycle.
A plan will give you this information.
In many ways a good plan or strategy is about finding out all the answers to why you should or shouldn’t do something in the future and then how you’re going to make everything that you want to happen, happen.
“But Kevin, creating a fundraising plan is complicated, time consuming and I’ve no idea where to start!”
No, its not.
OK, well it is time consuming but the time you invest in a good plan you will save many times over.
There are lots of books and websites that will tell you how to write your fundraising plan.
There are amazing courses (some which I teach) to help you create a fundraising plan
and there are many businesses who will do one for you.
But I think you should try it for yourself first.
Even if you later decide to bring in some external advice or support following these steps, answers the questions and putting yourself in the mindset to plan will be hugely valuable to you and your organisation.
So how do you create a fundraising plan?
Follow these steps!
Step 1) - Why do we exist and what are we trying to achieve??
If you don't review your organisations mission and vision and make sure that you can clearly articulate - in simple words that your granny (or I) can understand - what the hell your organisation is about at a fundamental level then you cannot progress.
Step 2) - Why should I care about you?
Why should I give you my money and not give it to another cause - or buy new shoes
Step 3) - What are we good at? What do we suck at?
Internal analysis - holding up the mirror and asking ourselves some serious questions about what we currently do, what works, what doesn't and what are we going to do about it?
Step 4) - What the hell is going on outside the bubble of our organisation?
What is the best organisation in the world in our field doing that we can learn form? What's happening in society that can affect our plans? What great innovations are we seeing in our area.
Step 5) - Now you get to talk about your great new ideas!
Brainstorming is fun - we all love coming up with new ideas. BUT. You need to introduce a rating model so you can score all your new ideas against your ability to deliver them and their realistic return on investment. You also go back and do the same with your existing campaigns - What you already do might be better than the new ideas?!?
Step 6) - You've written your letter for Santa now what?
So just having a list of great ideas isn't enough. Some will need lots of planning and won't reap rewards for years. Some will be quick wins. Some might need existing projects to be closed.
Step 7) - How do you know if you're Amazing or not?
If you're going to do something new you need to decide what success looks like in advance. If you're going to claim credit for Instagram engagement after your event then you need to put a target against Instagram engagement in your plan!
Step 8) - Take Action
Every campaign, project, programme is made up of 1,000 tiny, easy jobs to do. If you do them all you'll succeed. If you skip them you won't. You need an INCREDIBLY detailed action plan.
Step 9) - Now What?
If you've done all these steps then it's time to print off the plan and start ticking off the jobs.
This is just a start but trust me. If you sit down with your board, team, committee or even just a big clear mirror and challenge yourself to really, honestly answer all these questions and fill out all these steps you will make huge progress and gain massive insights into your organisation.
I started working through these steps with my coaching client last week and already they’re seeing how they need to reword their messaging and make some changes to the internal procedures.
Let me know how you get on.