The fundraising plan is essential for fundraising success

When creating a fundraising plan the first thing you need to do is to figure out your intentions for the year. Write those down on paper. It should only be a few sentences. It's best to do this in conjunction with some of your more senior volunteers (senior in experience and vision, not age!). If youre the leader you need to set your own intentions as well.

Remember that anything you want you can have. All you need to do is, understand why you want it, set out a series of steps (the fundraising plan) that will enable you to get there and then faithfully execute those steps until you get success. It sounds simple? It is, so long as you take action.

I would recommend that you set aside a couple of meetings at the beginning of each year with the sole aim of producing your master fundraising plan (that implements the intentions). If you dont have a plan you will drift.

Start planning your annual fundraising program by calculating your costs for a typical year. Then figure out what development projects you would like to do for the year. Brainstorm with your team and make a list. This exercise will help you form your high-level targets for the year. Whatever projects you decide on, you need to work out the exact amount of cash that will be required for the achievement of each. Write these figures into your plan. Lots of people say things like we need to raise a lot of money this year or we need to raise a lot more than last year. That doesnt work.

I normally assign our regular income fundraising activities to cover the normal running costs for the year, and then run a series of boosters and capital campaigns to cover the cost of the development projects.

Lets consider the development projects in terms of planning: many of the high-level target figures will need to be broken down into a series of manageable chunks. If you need 35k for a particular development project, it may be the case that it is required in stages, e.g. 15K by the end of March, another 10K by the end of July, and the other 10K at the end of October. These are the financial milestones for the project.

The last part of the fundraising plan is to assign particular fundraising activities to each of these financial milestones. Finally break down each fundraising event into a series of steps with dates and people against each one. Even people who make plans sometimes fail because they make a list of steps but dont ever put any firm dates against them. You must measure against each of these steps. This is the only way to be successful.

Realize that you wont be able to do all of the development projects on your list so list them in order of priority. Dont just say, lets see how many we can do. Plan each of them and leave two free months at the end. That way if you run over, youll still have a good shot at achieving your minimum list. If things go particularly well you can pull in the next project on your list.

When the fundraising plan is complete dont think its set in stone. Always evaluate it as you go and rework it as necessary. Maybe something you planned is not appropriate now so you have to change to something else.

Commit yourself 100% to follow through your steps until you get a result. Read it again! I didn't say if you get a result. There is a huge difference. I said until you get a result. Keep in mind, there is only one way to fail, and that is to quit.

Some people in amateur organizations think, oh I dont want to pressure people too much because after all they are volunteers. That doesnt work, people need specific targets and to be told what is expected of them. If you follow the relationship building methods on this site your volunteers will be motivated and wont feel stressed, instead theyll feel excited about reaching their targets and if they miss the target they will try even harder. If they know why they are doing it they will not give up.

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