- It’s that time again. Fundraising planning time.
Everybody is getting organized before things hit the fan in September for the big fallfundraising season. Here’s how to be even more productive. And get a jumpstart on this coming year’s fundraising planning. Answer these four questions, and make it a lot easier on yourself.
1. What are your organizational goals for the coming year?
Clearly you need to create your fundraising plan around what your organization wants to accomplish in the coming year. Because if you have clear organizational goals and plans, then you have a rationale for your fundraising. Then you can make it “about the kids” or about the sick, or about the poor, or whoever you are serving. You don’t have to make it “about the money.”
I’d like to know how you set your annual fundraising goals. PLEASE answer this quick 1-minute survey. And tell me how you set your goals – or how they are set for you. What are your challenges in meeting your goal?
All respondents will be entered into a drawing for a full year of the INSIDERS membership. AND I’ll share all the data you give me in future posts. THANKS!
Your annual fundraising effort needs to dovetail with your organizational vision, plans, and goals. It needs to reflect what your organization wants to accomplish this year.
Is your fundraising goal imposed from on high?
I hope you are not in a situation where your fundraising goal is imposed from on high – and it is simply a percentage increase. Or it is a random dollar figure that is bestowed upon you. That’s a recipe for a tough year ahead. If you DO find yourself with a goal laid upon you from above, go back to your bosses and see if you can fit the new revenue goal into an organizational plan. Because you want a rationale. Don’t make this year’s fundraising about the “money” unless you have to. Don’t make it harder than you have to.
2. How much do we need to raise?
Clearly, if you have your organizational plans and priorities, then it’s easy to know how much they will cost.
If you are armed with a clear plan that lays out projected outcomes for the year in terms of people fed, or rivers cleaned, or performances staged, it’s a whole lot easier to talk about how much it costs. You know exactly what you need to raise. No smoke and mirrors. The goal is directly tied into an operational plan – laid out with a numerical rationale.
3. What is this money for?
I find when organizations can tie their fundraising effort directly to what they want to accomplish this year, then fundraising is much easier. See my post: What’s the math? The three questions board members really need to know. Then the staff and the board members can talk about how much it costs to do your organization’s good work. Then you don’t have to make it about the money.
You don’t have to ask people to make a gift for something general or generic. Instead you can make it all about the people you are helping. And your donors are much more likely to open their hearts and their wallets when you approach them to fund something very specific.
4. How’d we do last year? What worked and what didn’t?
Clearly, now’s the time to evaluate your various fundraising strategies from last year. What worked? What didn’t work so well? What do you need to tweak or change?
Do you have any sacred cows for fundraising projects that are NOT productive and need to be dumped? What if you have a group of supporters who are devoted to a fundraising project that even costs you money, not raises it. It’s time to have a frank look at projects like that. What’s the “opportunity cost” of spending your time on an unprofitable event, when you could be devoting that time to getting out of the office visiting with major donors? An opportunity cost is the cost of your fundraising activities measured in the value of what you are giving up in order to do that one activity. I’d warrant that some of your current less productive fundraising strategies carry a very high opportunity cost, no doubt.
CALL TO ACTION:
1. Answer this quick survey and share how you set your fundraising goals right how. Let me know if you think you are reaching your fundraising potential and what is keeping you from it. 2. If you need help on this year’s fundraising plan, it’s not too late to join the INSIDERS planning sessions for July. We completed “Create a Breakthrough Fundraising Plan: Step One earlier this week, but you can get the audio and template materials if you register now. And you can still join us for the next two sessions to complete a killer fundraising plan that will take you where you really need to go. Find out more!