The financial health of an organization is an essential component of its sustainability. How do you rate the financial viability of your organization? Are you thriving or just surviving? And how do you tell the difference?
You’re in survival mode if you don’t ask for money, or if you only ask for money when you’re in crisis. With a comprehensive approach to your fundraising, you will thrive.
So, if you are in survival mode right now, how do you get started on the road to financial viability?
You might want to do an audit of your development efforts, to assess what you are doing now and how effective it is. The Sustainable Future Audit tool can give you some guidance, and we can also help you with more in-depth input.
The next step would be to look at an Annual Fund. Your organization’s annual fund is the “bread and butter” of ongoing generosity to your organization. It’s is the foundation for financial sustainability and the vehicle by which your former, current and new donors will often make their first gift to your mission.
A successful annual fund plan takes time to prepare and strategies to make that plan become successful. The creation and implementation of a year-round fund raising plan is critical to achieving the financial goals your organization has in place.
Among the many elements of an effective Annual Plan, we suggest the following:
- A summary of the previous three years of giving to your organization;
- Realistic goal setting based on history and capacity, not necessarily on need;
- Solicitation strategies for the various segments of your constituencies;
- Agreed upon time lines for solicitations and stewardship of gifts;
- Cultivation opportunities for prospective and current donors;
- Monitoring progress, incremental changes, and celebrating success.
As your organization gets itself on firmer financial footing, additional fundraising tools can be added to your development program, such as special gifts, planned giving and training for your leadership.