Fundraising: NOT the Luck of the Irish

During the gold rush, some of the most successful miners were of Irish descent, which gradually gave way to the expression, “luck of the Irish.” Ironically, mining success is less a result of luck than it is a byproduct of skill, planning, and grit, much like fundraising. Sure, there’s a chance a total stranger could leave a gazillion dollars to your organization, but it’s certainly not the norm. Rather it is through hard work and a rock-solid plan that nonprofits reach philanthropic success.

While a well-developed and thoughtful fundraising plan is fundamental to success, many organizations operate in a reactive manner, regularly having to put out fiscal fires, as opposed to being proactive in their program development. A well-crafted fundraising plan allows a nonprofit to focus, be strategic and control workflow while moving toward its highest goals.

Here are five golden tips to help you create a dynamic fundraising plan for your organization:

  1. Engagement  While having a single manager for your plan development is wise, a variety of stakeholders should be engaged in the process. Board members, Executive Directors, Development professionals, staff and key volunteers all have valuable insight into goal setting, strategies, activities and needs for support.
  2. Goals  Be specific in setting goals and make sure your goals are measurable and can be realistically attained. That said, be sure to stretch yourself and your staff to work toward your highest goals, avoiding complacency. Don’t be afraid of hard work, and remember how good everyone will feel after meeting or exceeding the challenges!
  3. Strategies  Be specific with the strategies that you will employ to reach each goal. Consider all the techniques you will use to raise funds and cultivate donors. From special events to phonathons, direct mail and volunteer solicitors, utilize a variety of strategies and be sure to evaluate what is working best for your organization along the way.
  4. Timeline  Creating a manageable timeline ensures that you control the flow of work in your shop. A timeline can help you identify downtime for planning, evaluation or office retreats and visually demonstrate the progressive nature of your efforts toward meeting your annual goal.
  5. Flexibility  Creating a plan that is flexible and organic in nature provides space for innovation and for taking advantage of unforeseen opportunities. Evaluate periodically to see what is and isn’t working, and pivot if necessary.

Spring is here and NOW is the time for planning to begin. May the road rise to meet you!

Created by Amy FitzGerald, MSW, Senior Consultant, Eno River Consulting, www.enoriverconsulting.orgIf your organization wants to develop a robust fundraising plan, we can help. Call 919.234.7281 for a free consultation.Untitled design (2)

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