There are hundreds, if not thousands, of quotes about planning, from Ben Franklin to Steve Covey to Oprah. All of them basically say, “Make a plan and work it.” Simple, right?
I wonder how many of these quotes were written by fundraisers for nonprofit organizations. I can hear the questions in your head, “How am I supposed to plan when there is one demand after another,” or “I barely have time to eat lunch or go to the bathroom, when am I supposed to write a plan?” Please don’t write your plan while in the bathroom or during lunch.
Let’s start by asking yourself this question, “How strategic are you in your fundraising efforts when you are jumping from task to another?” Having been in your position I can answer that question, “Not very.”
Even if the plan is not formally adopted by your board, even if the plan is internal and just for you, perhaps you just make a plan for yourself. Plus having even a simple plan helps in reporting your work and keeps you and your team focused.
A one-page document that you see every day, can help you stay on track, reminds you on where to focus, and keeps you from misdirection at every suggestion from a well-intentioned board member or volunteer.
Here’s a brief outline of what to include:
· Mission statement
· Vision statement
· Fundraising goals (breakdown by month or quarter or season)
· Areas needing support (general operating, programs, capacity building, capital campaign)
· Fundraising methods (individual visits, direct mail, electronic appeals, grants, and events including third-party events)
· Timeline with benchmark goals and reporting schedule
· Basic goals on how many calls, visits, emails you plan to make (“I will make five calls per week and send personalized emails to two donors each week.”)
· Be sure to include some qualification, cultivation and stewardship goals along with your solicitations
· A list of who is responsible for those tasks; if it’s just you, be kind and realistic on what you alone can accomplish
You can do this. Include your team, whether it’s a board member or a co-worker or a whole department. The responsibility is not just on your shoulders. Share the load because people want to help, they just need a plan.
Michelle Crim, CFRE
Dynamic Development Strategies can help. We offer coaching and fundraising services for our nonprofit clients. We specialize in startup and smaller nonprofits because we understand your challenges. Please contact us for more information.