Tip #3: Create a Fundraising Plan

Kindly provided by Kerri Tilby-Price from Exult (helping non-profits grow).

When you’re constantly looking to raise money, it’s easy to think every opportunity is a good opportunity and you end up scrambling from one idea to the next with little success. Sure you can piece together your budget a few activities at a time, but without a plan it’s unlikely that you are making best use of your time, energy and resources.

A plan gives you focus so that every step you take moves you closer to your overall goal and enables you to avoid unnecessary detours along the way. A successful plan doesn’t need to be complicated, in fact by keeping it simple, you are more likely to refer to it and stay on track.

The first step in creating a fundraising plan is to take an internal stocktake of your fundraising strengths and weaknesses. Unless your organisation is brand new, you will have some existing resources to help you with your fundraising efforts, so you might as well make the most of them! These may include:

  • A strong membership base
  • A database of donors, supporters, sponsors or volunteers (past and present)
  • A good track record with funding organisations
  • A clear vision and mission statement
  • Well designed promotional material such as brochures and posters
  • A website or Facebook page
  • Good relationships with local media
  • Board members experienced in fundraising
  • Strong contacts in the business community
  • Existing fundraising events or activities
  • Good public support of your organisation
  • A national awareness campaign

Of course, there are countless other resources your organisation may have, but you need to take the time to recognise them. Talk to your members and supporters and find out what skills, networks and resources they have as well. Fundraising should be a team effort, so get to know the people on your team.

Once you are clear about what resources you have, identify what resources you need. You may discover that you’ve had plenty of support in the past, but no-one has kept an accurate or up-to-date database. Or perhaps you have lots of willing volunteers, but none of them have received training in the fundraising field. Maybe your promotional material is non-existent or you have no contacts in the business world.

By identifying both your strengths and your weaknesses, you get a clear picture of where your starting point is. From there you can decide what types of fundraising are best suited to your organisation and develop some fundraising strategies that play to your strengths.

Some fundraising streams you may like to consider include grants, membership, donations, bequests, corporate partnerships, peer-to-peer fundraising activities or more traditional fundraising events. You could also consider establishing a small-scale social enterprise or securing a contract to deliver services in your area.

Once you’ve decided what avenues you want to use, stick with them. Pour your time, energy and resources into the plan and avoid chasing opportunities that don’t fit with your strategy.

Click here for the next great tip on raising more funds or here for all available tips.