Sherita Brace is an international development professional and writer with an avid interest in Africa.
Developing a strategic fundraising plan will ensure that the effort invested in the solicitation of funds will be organized and devoid of stressful situations. It will also contribute to the sustainability of programs while advancing the credibility of an organization.
The steps indicated below serve as a guide in the formulation of a strategic fundraising plan for non-profit organizations.
The first step in the formulation of a strategic fundraising plan is Research. A non-profit organization should conduct research on its fundraising operations. This will lead to insights such as ineffective fundraising plans and the funds required for the sustainability of programs.
Once research has been conducted on an organizations’ fundraising programs, a strategic plan that highlights a road-map for fundraising may now be developed. The strategic plan will comprise relationship building and stewardship, grant applications, soliciting donations from individuals, marketing, and accountability.
Relationship Building and Stewardship
The design of a program that involves interaction between board members and donors will lead to the creation of a strong organizational foundation along with increased financial resources. An example of a program that can yield such results is the creation of a thank you video by the non-profit’s leadership board to its donors. This video can be disseminated to donors through the non-profit’s social media outlets and its’ mailing list. The feedback and interaction that will ensue following the dissemination of the video will serve as an effective medium for remaining in the minds of donors while keeping board-members engaged in the implementation process. Through their participation, board members will have an opportunity of experiencing the tangible result of a program where words might have failed.
It is imperative to include grant applications in the fund-raising process. However, a key measure that can shore up the success rate of an organizations’ grant application is through the use of a warm approach. An organization should refrain from using a cold approach. A warm approach involves the cultivation of a relationship with the funding agency. This approach (warm) often results in a vested interest in the success of your organization by the funding entity. Also, it serves as a time saver.
For instance, upon discovering a grant funder through the web, a call can be placed to the funding entity. Thereafter, an appointment can be scheduled with the Program Officer as a means of finding out more about the funding entity’s guidelines. During the meeting, provide the Program Officer with information about your organizations’ mission and goals. Should there be a fit between your organization and the funding entity, the Program Officer will inform you. On the other hand, if your organization is not a fit, the Program Officer will let you know. This will save your organization time while preventing the application of a grant that would not have been successful due to a misalignment between the funding entity’s goals and that of your organization.
Soliciting Donations From Individuals
In recent times, individuals are serving as an enormous source of funding for non-profits. According to the annual Giving USA report, individuals’ contributions hit a record of $265 billion in 2015. Non-profits with the help of individuals such as you and I have the power to create a global impact. Most often, non-profits are wary of requesting funds from individuals. They view the act of asking as being burdensome. Perhaps, by shifting their (non-profits) perspective, the “asking” process will become more enjoyable and less apprehensive. This shift in perspective could take the form of realizing the value that non-profits bring to the table. For example, by realizing the value they provide to individuals through their ability to serve as conduits for progress, they can approach individuals with more confidence and joy.
Also, in order to be successful at generating funding for programs from individuals, it is crucial to link a nonprofit to interests that individuals care about. Upon identification of a non-profits target interest-based donors, a relationship can be cultivated with them through social media. Once these relationships have been cultivated, soliciting funds becomes easier and more efficient.
Finally, it is recommended to request a specific amount and offer tangibles when seeking funds from individuals. For example; $10 will lead to funding the education (a year's tuition) of a disadvantaged female child in Mali.
A strategic fundraising plan should include marketing. This will generate awareness about a non-profit's programs to its constituents and donors. Avenues such as social media and other online resources provide great opportunities for non-profiting marketing. For instance, Google for Non-Profits is a great resource aimed at assisting the marketing efforts of non-profits. This resource provides non-profit organizations with an opportunity to apply for google $10,000 worth of free Google Adwords per month.
Finally, a strategic plan for raising funds should indicate how funds are used and the results from programs that funds are used. This step can take the form of regular dissemination of reports. For example, disseminating reports to donors on a regular basis will keep them updated on an organization's activities. As a result, the non-profit will engender trust and good-will from its donors.
The preparation of a strategic fundraising plan will provide an organized and streamlined process for generating funds. Consequently, a non-profit will be in a position to ensure the sustainability of its programs while contributing to a better world for humanity.
© 2017 Sherita Brace