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3 Steps to Creating an Annual Fundraising Strategy

It’s everyone’s favorite time of year, the holidays are here, and new beginnings are right around the corner! Are you ready to create a fundraising strategy for 2019 that can turn your goals into realities?

A well-thought strategy will not only help align your organization, but it will keep everyone accountable. We’ve gathered what it takes to create a successful fundraising plan. Let’s look at why a full strategy is so important and what it takes to create one.

Identifying Your Fundraising Strategy

A fundraising strategy is a great tool that allows you to check in throughout the year to mark your progress.

Having a detailed strategic plan in place before embarking on a year of fundraising campaigns can be a huge determinant in your organization’s overall success.

The best fundraising strategic plan tells a complete, analytics-based story that your team can actually use.

Each strategy should consist of the following components: 

  • Fundraising Goal: The dollar amount your organization will strive to raise this year.
  • Mission: Your organization’s reason for operating and how the funds serve your cause.
  • Fundraising Methods: The initiatives you will use to reach your fundraising goal. Each campaign or event should outline its own goal and the resources/investment necessary to implement it.
  • Timeline: Determine the dates and times associated with each fundraising method throughout the year

To make the planning less daunting, break the process up into three easy steps.

Step 1: Evaluate the Current Fundraising Strategy

The first step is to determine what, from the previous year, served your mission. The best way to understand what has worked (and hasn’t worked) is to analyze past fundraising efforts.

To determine areas of growth with the greatest potential, complete a SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis is a strategy that helps you break down your nonprofit’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

  • List your most successful initiatives and campaigns.
  • What areas could your organization invest more time to meet its fundraising goals?
  • Identify areas of opportunity that your organization could pursue.
  • List any potential threats or worst-case scenarios and how you might respond should the issue arise.

Step 2: Set SMART Goals

Goals should be based on the needs of your specific organization. After you have analyzed your current fundraising strategies, commit to new focus areas and come up with SMART goals for each strategy. A SMART goal helps the task owner hold themselves accountable by making the goal specific, measurable, achievable, results-oriented, and time-bound.

Don’t forget to take into consideration your current resources as this will impact what fundraising strategies you pursue next year. This includes:

  • Budget
  • Staff / Volunteers
  • Donor Data
  • Partners
  • Resources

Step 3: Map and Outline

Once you have your yearly fundraising strategies and goals determined, you should work to develop a strategic outline for each campaign. Every fundraising event/opportunity should have the following categories outlined.

  • Time Frame: Add important dates and deadlines for every major deliverable
  • Goals: List your SMART goals and add benchmarks
  • Materials:Identify the resources that are needed for each fundraising campaign including funds, volunteer hours, and marketing materials.

For your overall strategy, be sure to consider:

  • Are your donors being engaged in different ways?
  • Are you growing your fundraising revenue?
  • Do your donors prefer online giving or should you continue with traditional methods?
  • Since donors are getting a lot of their information on social media, are you keeping up with where they are engaging?

New Year, New Plan

In the end, your fundraising strategy will be as successful as you make it. Why not aim to reach those goals and stick to your plan? If you are willing to take your campaigns to new levels, consider our tips and gear up for a new year with new levels of fundraising success!

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