How to Draft a Fundraising Strategy for Your Nonprofit

Setting out to raise funds is a lot easier when you have a guide to follow. After you analyze your nonprofit’s fundraising potential, take the following steps to create a fundraising plan for your organization:

  • Set preliminary goals. Ask yourself how much you need to raise to cover your organization’s costs in the year ahead. Naming a clear and reasonable goal is the first step in your planning.

  • Ask whom you know. Brainstorm lists of contacts — both the ones you and your board have now and the ones you want to have in the future. As you gather names, ask yourself the best way to approach those contacts — whether it’s through formal proposals or a game of golf — and how much those prospects might give.

  • Research. Your research phase asks both who might contribute and how much they might give. Using directories, the Internet, and advice from others, find out as much as you can about your potential sources. Continually build your lists of prospects and then refine and edit it as you go.

  • Estimate costs. List the tools you need for your fundraising — perhaps a simple brochure, a “Donate” button on your website, or pancake batter for a breakfast at the firehouse. Estimate the costs of those tools, the staff time devoted to fundraising, and the fees for consultants if you use them. Also remember to invest in a good record-keeping system.

  • Get real. Draft a schedule of what needs to be done when. Assign staff members, board members, or volunteers to different tasks and — this is important — agree to a system of checking in with one another to make sure you’re all completing your assignments.

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