Planning for Sustainable Fundraising

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Multiple sources of funding are required to stabilize your mission and impact. Reliance on single source grants or affluent donors could result in a significant loss of funding in the blink of an eye.

To protect your organization from this eventuality, diversification of income sources is the best course, but the planning for sustainable fundraising must be addressed as a first step.

Planning for Sustainable Fundraising

In every growth arena, having a written plan makes achievement more probable. The Individual Donor Benchmark Project agrees that it’s critical; They say that having a fundraising plan in writing is the key indicator of success among nonprofits with operating budgets below $2 million.

The main benefits of making a sustainable fundraising plan include:

• assessing past results
• analyzing financial health
• identifying growth opportunities

By creating a plan, you are thinking critically about your fundraising, which prepares your organization for the future. Once developed, you ensure that your goals are clear and that all of your actions lead you toward them.

Even better, by creating measurable goals, you’ll know exactly where you are, where you need to be, how you will achieve these objectives, and in what time frame. Having this information in hand—as opposed to being semi-formed in the ether—is extremely empowering.

Getting Help with Sustainable Fundraising

When Network for Good asked if small to mid-sized nonprofits were using a written, annual fundraising plan to manage revenue-generating activities, half of the 10,000 respondents said, “no.”

When asked why not, it transpired that about a quarter of them didn’t know how to devise such a plan. About a quarter cited a lack of data and insights. The remaining half of the non-profits without a plan said that they simply didn’t have the time to make one.

Most organizations can empathize with these responses. Many nonprofits are understaffed and underfunded. And then there’s the question of a potential lack of expertise required to plan effectively.

Prioritizing your available resources (human and financial), however, can improve your success dramatically. To make the most of your resources, working with a nonprofit consultant can be cost-effective and can reduce implementation time.

This relationship can get your organization moving in the right direction, as quickly as you desire. Just as correcting a ship’s course slightly can change its destination, a minor adjustment in your planning can make a huge difference in your overall success.

A nonprofit consultant can see to it that you’re doing everything you can to increase your visibility and reach your ideal donor prospects.

How a Nonprofit Consultant Can Help You Take Action

Creating a plan for sustainable fundraising is powerful, but it’s nothing without action. If you want to work with a nonprofit consultant in the longer term, they’ll not only help you to craft your fundraising plan, but can help you to implement it too.

To move towards success, you will need to plan a campaign that includes:

Engaging boards in fundraising activities
It’s not enough to devise great ideas and fundraising activities. You’re going to have to get people involved too. There are tried and tested strategies and tactics that can get your board motivated to donate more money. An experienced nonprofit consultant knows what will work in a variety of situations and they can help you to make it happen.

Using storytelling to get an emotional response from donors
The facts may be compelling to you, but potential donors always need more than facts to solicit a deeper response that leads to engagement and then donations.

Planning an end-of-year campaign
The year-end giving season is a critical time for nonprofits, so you need to be prepared well in advance. By working on your year-end plan early, you can also get that extra engagement from your board and be ready to deliver your message in style come November and December.

Analyzing data to perfect donor personas
You can improve your donations by better understanding your donors. While many nonprofits feel that they don’t have sufficient data or insights, they might be surprised to discover how much they can learn already.

By finding that data and analyzing it, a nonprofit can further their mission much more effectively than by guesswork and intuition. Real results can be analyzed to make adjustments that generate better visibility, more engagement, and more donations.

By taking factors like these into account and acting on the initiatives, you not create sustainability around your fundraising efforts, but it can surpass previous years.

You care about your mission, so don’t leave its future to chance. Use all the tools and resources at your disposal to ensure diversified sources of donations and continuing engagement with a range of donors.

Author: Kelly Campbell
Kelly Campbell is an Agency Leader Transformation Coach based in New York. The former owner of a cause marketing agency for 14 years, she helps creative leaders transform their businesses and their lives—focusing on the 5 P's: purpose, people, positioning, pipeline and profitability. She speaks at agency growth conferences across the country, has been featured in The New York Times, Woman Entrepreneur and Forbes, gets vulnerable on Medium, and is currently authoring her first book on reframing leadership. She is the host of THRIVE: Your Agency Resource, a bi-weekly video podcast sponsored by Workamajig that helps agency owners navigate personal and professional growth.

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