Non-Profit Fundraising: From Ad Hoc To Ongoing

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28 Jul Non-Profit Fundraising: From Ad Hoc To Ongoing

When non-profits first start up, fundraising can be an ad hoc process, with intense campaigns followed by idle periods. As organizations grow and acquire staff and support, they generally decide that fundraising needs to be ongoing. But it can be hard to maintain focus and momentum without a strategic fundraising plan. Here is how to create one.

Build on Past Experience
The first step to a solid fundraising plan is to form a fundraising committee. This should consist of board members, your executive director, and other key staffers. You also may want to include major donors and active community members.

Committee members need to start by reviewing past sources of funding and past fundraising approaches and weighing the advantages and disadvantages of each. Even if your overall fundraising efforts have been less than successful, some sources and approaches may still be worth keeping. Next, brainstorm new donation sources and methods and select those with the greatest fundraising potential.

As part of your plan, outline the roles you expect board members to play in fundraising efforts. For example, in addition to making their own donations, they can be crucial links to corporate and individual supporters.

Develop an Action Plan
Once the committee has developed a plan for where to seek funds and how to ask for them, it is time to create a fundraising budget that includes operating expenses, staff costs, and volunteer projections. After the plan and budget have board approval, develop an action plan for achieving each objective and assign tasks to specific individuals.

Most important, once you have set your plan in motion, do not put it aside. Regularly evaluate the plan and be ready to adapt it to organizational changes and unexpected situations. Although you want to give new fundraising initiatives time to succeed, do not be afraid to cut your losses if it is obvious an approach is not working.

Maintain Cash Flow
Do not wait until your non-profit’s funds are nearly depleted before launching a fundraising campaign. Fundraising should be ongoing and constantly evolving. Contact us for advice on maintaining strong cash flow.