The fundraising strategy is the plan you have put in place to achieve revenue growth for the organisation you manage or work for. No matter what activities you do, without a strategy, you will not be able to achieve your goals.
How many years should you plan for?
Ideally, you should plan for at least three years. However, this depends on many factors including the stability of the income sources you plan to generate funding from.
What do you need to plan your fundraising strategy?
There are a few important issues you need to consider before you start planning your fundraising strategy: ,
- The target you need to achieve
- The number of teams and team structure/roles
- The budget/expenditure plan that you need to achieve the target
- Funding sources
- Income analysis
- Retention and stewardship plans
- Potential yearly growth
- Key assumptions
- Requirements from other departments/units within your organisation-
Let us examine these pillars one by one:
1- The target you need to achieve
No matter how big your annual target is, it can be divided and managed in bite-sized pieces. Consider it this way: if you see a big camel and someone asked you to eat it, you would eat one bite at a time! Targets are pretty similar. You need to divide your target into 4 quarters and then link each quarter to specific income sources, as we will see below.
2- Team Structure and Roles
Now that you have divided your target into 4 quarters so that they suit financial planning, you can choose whether to divide each quarter among your fundraising teams as their individual targets, or to divide it according to the industries you plan to approach. By now, you should have a fair idea about who will be doing what and how many team members are required for each task. You will need a clear structure on what roles are needed for the job, the number of team members you require, and a benchmark for salaries if you are going to hire a new team. All this should be included in your budget.
3- The budget/expenditure
You have to include the following in your budget:
– The cost of activities like marketing, communication, events, travel, etc.
– Salaries for team members.
– Donors engagement/cultivation (such as special meetings, dinner, gifts, etc.)
– Marketing cost including the cost of lead generation
– A buffer (approximately 10% of the budget) for unexpected events
4- Funding sources
Highlight your funding sources in your plan. These may include:
– Online/digital donations
– Individual donors
– Institutional donors
– Corporate donors
– Major donors
5- Income Analysis
Here, you need to highlight the percentage of funds from each income source, the size of the gift/donation, types of donors, number of donors per source/country/industry, etc.
6- Retention and Stewardship Plans
We touched upon retention plans and best practices for retention earlier. To summarise my earlier post, I recommend that every NGO/NPO put in place a partnership strategy to achieve the following:
– Satisfy and retain existing donors
– Increase the size of donation/gift from existing donors
– Meet any stated obligations towards the donors
Categorise donors into three different categories (only for internal purposes): 1) Strategic donors 2) Major donors 3) Medium and small donors
The purpose of categorising donors is to come up with different approaches and engagement plans that are suited to each type of donor.
Keep an eye on this space as I will be publishing an entire post on the best practices in donor management.
7- Potential Yearly Growth
Based on the assumption that your stewardship and retention plans are met, you have to estimate your target growth. This growth will be based on the size of donations, number of donors, donation per donor types, donation from each income source, etc.
8- Key Assumptions
Make sure you list all the assumptions considered to achieve the target. Make this a part of your strategy and inform everyone who works with you about these assumptions.
9- Requirements from other Departments/Units within the Organisation
Apart from the assumptions made, make sure to include requirements from other teams within the organisation. This might include marketing benefits, communication benefits, special reporting, etc.
This was a short overview on how to plan your fundraising strategy. Remember, this is just a short overview and the purpose is to give you a guideline on how you can create your path to victory and success!