The Fundraising Plan: For a New Organization

Sections of this topic

    As noted last week: (1) The fundraising plan addresses (where appropriate) mass solicitation (mail, email, telephone), individual solicitation (major gifts), foundation applications, corporate solicitation and special events; and, (2) A fundraising plan, more than anything, must be a reflection of reality.

    In crafting a plan, “reality” derives from experience. For example, only if you’ve previously done direct mail can you project how much you will need to spend for that activity and how much you’re likely to raise from that activity in the coming year.

    For a new nonprofit, without the experience to craft an actual plan, the “plan” will consist of a number of activities that will investigate various fundraising methodologies.

    That “plan” might include the intent to research a number of foundations to determine which (type of) foundations would be likely to support the organization’s mission. It might include the intent to call and/or write (or have someone write) letters-of-inquiry (preliminary proposals) to a small number of foundations. It might even include the intent to identify the executives and board members of the identified foundations who live in the organization’s service area.

    It might include the intent to compile lists of local and national corporations that serve your area and/or your constituency, then to research which of those corporations … and which of their executives … are active members of your community.

    And, most importantly, it should include the intent to identify who the leaders are in your community … those people who sit on the boards of local corporations, who are board members of other nonprofits, and those who are major donors to other nonprofits. Those are the folks with the money, the people who are most likely to be able to make the major gifts you’ll need for long-term survival.

    The “plan” might include the intent to talk with one-or-more fundraising/development consultants … with an eye toward identifying one with whom you’ll be comfortable working. You might even talk with a direct marketing firm about direct mail … how many pieces should be in a “test” mailing, how many test mailings should you do in a year, what would it cost….

    If an organization wants to grow/survive, it must invest in the research that will (help them) identify likely (long-term) donors.

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