Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Fund Development Plans - The Key to Successful Fundraising

Setting your fundraising goals is an important part of the nonprofit budgeting process as well as an integral part of the organization’s strategic plan. Related to the strategic plan, there should be a thoughtful, inclusive, and clearly defined fund development plan with measurable goals that are frequently reviewed.

A fund development plan is a strategy designed to identify and secure resources needed to advance the mission and strategic goals of the organization. Thus, it’s most beneficial to have a sound strategic plan with objectives that support the mission of the organization. To that end, board involvement along with volunteers and staff support is essential to the success of the development plan.

The purpose of the development plan is focus on the organization’s goals, method of achieving the goals and resources required. Below is a brief outline for establishing a fund development plan. It is important however, to establish specific goals with dollar amounts, timelines, and responsible persons or groups.

Fund Development Plan Steps

I. Mission Statement (purpose of existence)
II. Organizational Goals and Objectives (responsibilities)
III. Outcomes & Results to Share (results of existence)
IV. Compile Stories based on Outcomes/Results (provide reasons to donate)

The first four steps above assist in developing a compelling story that can be used as an effective communications piece. This information can be used to create “what if” scenarios that depict various outcomes based on different levels of contributions. It is also beneficial to utilize this information to identify similarities between the organization’s goals and prospective donor’s goals.

V. Gather Facts and Identify Constituencies (gift/donor history, constituency list)
VI. Solicit Feedback from Sample Constituents (host focus groups, interviews, etc)
VII. Develop a Fundraising Committee (if needed)

The steps listed above can be time consuming, but critical in preparing supporting documentation and information and for developing fundraising strategies, methods, and goals. Furthermore, the feedback received on fundraising strategies identified can be used to improve them.

VIII. Develop Gift Range Charts (identifies the number of contacts required to meet specific dollar goals)
IX. Develop Strategies for Connecting/Contacting Each Source (direct mail, phone-a-thons, special events, personal contacts, etc.)
X. Identify Resources Required for Fund Development (expenses, promotional items, quantities, volunteers, board involvement, etc.)
XI. Vehicles for Accepting Gifts (cash, credit, pledges, internet, planned giving, etc.)

These steps are helpful in implementing fundraising efforts and accepting gifts.

XII. Acknowledgement (thank yous)
XIII. Record Keeping (data on donors, levels, etc.)
XIV. Evaluation (review dollars raised, process, etc.)

The last three steps are probably the most important step in cultivating and growing the donor base. Methods for compiling and storing data are abundant depending upon size and budget. Lastly, evaluating your fundraising efforts each year is critical to the success for subsequent years.

Fundraising plans, if prepared and used appropriately, can further the advancement of the organization, strengthen existing relationships and develop new relationships. Expanding the donor base can be achieved through a myriad of strategies and the key is involvement from the board of directors, staff and volunteers.

Some resources on fundraising are available at www.jblockinc.com (online fundraising newsletter), www.raise-funds.com (resource site set up by Tony Poderis), or a reference journal, “Grassroots Fundraising Journal” (six times per year.)

Kathy Grochow, NRS, St. Cloud

2 comments:

Verna Derosier said...

I'm so glad that I came across your blog. I think that the Fund Development Plan Steps that you've provided is brilliant and it will greatly help our plan to organize a nonprofit organization in our area for the benefit of the out of school youth. We are still in the process of gathering and organizing data with the help of the specialized nonprofit fundraising software, which was recommended by one of the volunteers. We are all hoping for the success of our plan, Thanks for the great info!

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