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Six Steps to Your Fundraising Plan

Fundraising and stewardship plans come in all shapes and sizes and can seem

overwhelming if you haven’t created one. Even if you have created one it can seem overwhelming. However, it’s important for any size nonprofit to have both plans in place to help your organization be successful.

Typewriter with sheet of paper in it.


I understand small and medium size non-profits have limited resources and capacity. There’s always a fire to put out…or five! I know. I’ve been there! But, trust me, the time you invest in creating your fundraising and stewardship plans will be time well spent. Below are six steps to building your fundraising plan.

1.     Goal: Determine how much money you need to raise to fulfill your mission and achieve your organization's goals.

2.     Rationale: Look to the past to help you determine your future.

  • Review your fundraising data from the previous 2 to 3 years and identify giving trends for your organization. You need to look at the data from each revenue stream.

    • Individual Donors

    • Corporate Giving

    • Grants

    • Special Events

    • Contracts

    • Earned Revenue

  • When reviewing your data, include details: company, foundation, and donor names, gift amounts, gift dates and how they gave (event, online giving, direct mail, etc). This information allows you to see who’s increasing, decreasing, or stopped giving over that period. This information can help determine who you should approach for an increased gift and who you may want to reengage.

  • Set goals for each revenue stream (give yourself some stretch goals) based on your rationale (step 2).

3. Tactics (activities): Write out tactics for each of your revenue goals.

  • Be sure to write out all tactics for each income stream. For example, you might have 3 tactics as to how you will reach your goal under “Individual Giving”. Write out each one.

4.     Owner: Who will be responsible for each tactic? (Involve your Board, Staff and Volunteers)

5.     Timeframe: You should always have a time when each tactic will be executed. This allows everyone to see what the fundraising year ahead looks like, provides preparation time for the "owners", and accountability. No timeframe usually leads to no tactics which leads to missed goals.

6. Direct Costs: It’s always a good idea to estimate what your fundraising expense will be for each activity. Tracking expenses will help you determine the ROI for your tactics.

Remember your Fundraising Plan is a living document. Things are going to come up. Stay present. Stay flexible and adjust the plan as needed to reach your goals. If you need to do another email campaign at some point in the year because you missed your special event goal that’s ok.

 You can have the best fundraising plan in the nonprofit world but if you don’t have a stewardship plan you’re likely spinning your fundraising wheels. Next week, I’ll be writing about the value of a stewardship plan. Hint: it’s cheaper to retain donors than acqure new ones!


In the meantime, if I can help you build your annual fundraising plan then

It’s not too late to build out your 2024 plan!

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