This week’s blog continues exploring the ever-important Fundraising Plan. All nonprofits should have one.

The Fundraising Authority

The Fundraising Authority offers a great article on writing a Fundraising Plan. The article can be helpful for nonprofits reviewing or revising their plans, too.

The article notes that a great Fundraising Plan is the best way to avoid ineffective, last-minute fundraising activities and/or emergency cash needs. Fundraising Plans should follow your organization’s need for funds and a calendar relating to program and other expenses.

Your Fundraising Plan should cover who does what and when. It should have goals (SMART ones!). The plan should address the mission of your organization and contain details of each fundraising activity, including timing.


Network for Good

Network for the Good offers a seven steps for developing or reviewing a Fundraising Plan.

  1. Start by reflecting upon the past year—what worked for you, what didn’t work?
  2. Identify the resources you need to effectively implement your fundraising plan—which resources do you have, which do you need to acquire?
  3. List your activities.
  4. Set goals for each activity (in addition to your overarching fundraising goals).
  5. Think about three areas of focus for your Plan—perhaps it’s a new program, or an expanded program, etc.
  6. Populate your calendar with activities from your Fundraising Plan.
  7. Insure your success—identify what works well, what needs to be adjusted, who can assist, and how will you recognize success.

Integrate Your Fundraising Plan

It is vitally important, and frequently forgotten, to insure your Fundraising Plan is fully integrated with all other aspects of your nonprofit organization.

Start with calendaring. Look at your organizational calendar, staff calendars, note other activities or events in your community. Also think about grant and reporting deadlines and best times to do annual giving appeals.Your Fundraising Plan should mesh well with all other organizational activities. It should not be a burden, or “one more thing” to do that no one ever quite gets to!

Engage your Board’s finance committee in Fundraising Plan development. Look to times of cash flow struggles and see if a fundraising activity could generate revenue to ease the struggle. Think about building a cash reserve and what kinds of fundraising could help with that. This kind of detailed planning alleviates the potential for the “Oh, dear, we need money, let’s do an event” thinking!

Make review and revision of your Fundraising Plan a standing agenda item for each Board meeting. Your Plan should be a living and breathing document, not something static that ends up covered in dust on somebody’s office shelf.

Look at your programs and services, too. What and how can program activities support your Fundraising Plan? Are there opportunities to showcase your organization’s work? Can you (should you?) involve program staff in fundraising?

Think about staffing. Do you have the staff capacity to implement your Fundraising Plans? If not consider adding staff, using consultants, or out-sourcing in other ways. It takes people to effectively implement a solid Fundraising Plan.

As with many resources for nonprofits, you don’t have to start from scratch when developing your Fundraising Plan. Use your local networks to seek samples and advice from other nonprofits. There are a myriad of templates and samples on the Internet. Double the Donation offers six templates here: