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How To Put Together A Fundraising Plan For Your Nonprofit

Author: Adie M.

Putting together a fundraising plan for your nonprofit is very important if you want your organization to enjoy long-term success. After all, the nonprofit sector has its fair share of competition, just like any other industry. 

In fact, at last count, the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS) stated that there were more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations registered in the United States alone! That’s a lot of nonprofit organizations looking for donations.

This is why it is so important to take a step back and draw up a fundraising plan that places your organization in the best position possible to source the funds you need to continue your good work in your community. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you do so.  

Fundraising Plan

How To Write A Successful Fundraising Plan

Here are the six steps you need to follow in order to draw up a fundraising plan that will allow you to attract donors and keep your nonprofit’s funds at optimal levels for growth and sustainability. 

Get Your Team On Board

Most charities, especially smaller nonprofits and start-ups, tend to fly by the seat of their pants when it comes to fundraising. Someone dreams up a bright idea for an event, auction, or campaign, and the host committee or volunteer group springs into action. Money comes in and everything is on an even keel for a while - until the coffers dip low again. 

Running a nonprofit development program in this way is obviously not sustainable. Even if your nonprofit has a long list of repeat donors with deep pockets, this type of unorganized fundraising is enough to scare off any potential volunteers and committee members. It also leads to bad financial decision making. 

As such, the first thing you need to do is get your team on board by drawing up a fundraising plan. Point to the success of charities like United Way and Feeding America - organizations that grossed $3.3 billion and $2.8 billion in private donations respectively throughout 2019. If they can do it, so can you! 

Identify The Best Person For The Job

Next up, you need to determine who will write the fundraising plan. The most obvious person would be your development director - if your organization has one. They will normally write the plan in collaboration with the organization's CEO or executive director. 

If your nonprofit does not have a development staff, the fundraising planner should be selected from the board of directors. Alternatively, a development consultant can also be approached to donate their time to your cause, or could perhaps be hired outright. This all depends on your budget, though. 

When considering your options, keep in mind that most successful fundraising professionals have certain qualities in common. This includes impeccable integrity, exceptional listening skills, the ability to motivate as well as a rock-solid work ethic. They have high expectations of themselves and their team, command a room, and come to the table with great motivational energy. 

Pinpoint Your Goals

Your organization's fundraising goals should be based on how you operate as well as the type of funds you require. Start by evaluating your income and costs for the past three financial years. If you have just started up, take some time to draw up an estimated budget or look at the statistics of organizations that function in a similar way to yours. 

Once you have your financial goal in mind, e.g. $1,000,000 for the year ahead, build on it. To grow your organization, you will need to increase this goal at the hand of the growth you are anticipating. 

Planning out your fundraising strategy

Clarify Your Mission

Now that you know what you're aiming for, it's time to clarify your mission. After all, as a nonprofit, you aren't simply raising funds. You are raising funds with the aim of doing some good in the world. Take a look at your mission statement and ensure that your fundraising goals align with it. 

Your fundraising goal tells you how much money you need to raise. Your fundraising mission, on the other hand, tells you why you are raising it. This is based on the type of change your organization is making in the world and how you go about doing so. 

Decide On Tactics

How are you going to raise the funds you need? Once your mission is clarified, it's time to decide on your fundraising tactics. How will you go about raising the funds you need for the work you want to do? 

Examples of fundraising tactics include individual giving from major donors, large and small-size events (such as galas, dinners, and sporting events), direct mail, telemarketing, and online auctions

There are also grants from foundations and government to consider, as well as corporate giving programs, and participatory fundraising (e.g. fun runs, cook-offs, etc.). 

Firm Up The Timeline

The final step in writing a fundraising plan is the one that tends to take the longest. This involves setting up your timelines. This entails breaking down your plan into actionable goals that are tied to specific dates. 

For instance, if you plan on running a festive giving campaign, you need to have everything in place to kick off with marketing at least a month ahead of Christmas. I.e. all your marketing collateral and donation channels have to be in place early in November. So, you have to start putting it together in October already! 

With timelines like these in place for all your campaigns, it becomes a lot simpler to roll out sleek fundraising initiatives that encourage exceptional donor engagement. 

Plan out your fundraising timeline

Start Planning For Success

Writing a successful fundraising plan for your nonprofit starts with getting your team on board and appointing the right person to write it. Then you have to pinpoint your goals, clarify your mission, decide on tactics, and firm up your timelines. 

Tick these boxes and you'll be well on your way to generating those must-needed funds for your organization in a sustainable, organized way!