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Successful Fundraising

How to plan your fundraising campaign

Fundraising is an essential task for most non-commercial organizations. An effective fundraising planning process ensures that you'll have substantial funding to meet your program and service goals.

A fundraising plan needs to be developed and established (in writing) at least once a year. Because actual funding campaigns often vary greatly from what was planned, it is important to constantly review and revise the fundraising plan.

The fundraising outline and plan should be developed by the organization's Board of Directors, under the direction of the Executive Director, with input from the program, fundraising, and administrative staff:

  1. Review your organization's mission and vision and recommit to them. All fundraising activity should support and further this vision and mission.
  2. Plan and develop the programs you wish to fund. Set measurable, realistic goals for each program. Ask the program staff for input regarding goals and challenges, as well as ideas for implementing needed changes.
  3. Create a realistic budget for each program as well as an overall operational budget. Determine how much money will need to be raised this year.
  4. Conduct an analysis of your fundraising program. Analyze each fundraising area, including special events, membership, grants, annual campaign, etc.

    List each areaís internal strengths and weaknesses as well as all external opportunities. Create a goal of where you want each fundraising area to be at the end of next year.
  5. Set your fundraising goals for each area. Classify potential supporters according to their ability and likelihood to give and estimate each groupís total monetary gifts.

    Break down each fundraising goal into discrete tasks and assign them to workers and staff. Clearly describe all responsibilities and expectations. Make sure you'll have enough cash on hand to effectively implement the fundraising plan.
  6. Assess your existing supporters. Determine the methods by which they will be asked to give and participate in your organizationís activities this year.

    Review your supporters list and make sure that mailing, phone, and email lists are accurate and current. Review the written files of major supporters.
  7. Research and seek out new funding opportunities. Identify the individuals, corporations, businesses, and foundations that will be approached for funding assistance in the coming year.
  8. Match potential supporters with your financial goals. Decide how each program should be funded and how administrative expenses will be paid for.
  9. Carefully implement your fundraising plan. Design and create promotional materials and points of contact. Inform your new and existing supporters about your organization, your accomplishments, and your goals.
  10. Monitor the results of your fundraising plan. Follow-up with staff to verify that all tasks are completed successfully.

    Compare the results of your fundraising campaigns to the projected income and revise the plan as necessary.
Fundraising is essential to an organization's success. If you develop and implement a good fundraising plan, your fundraising campaign can reach its goals!

Jessica R. Dreistadt is Founding Director of The Fruition Coalition.

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