Fundraising 2014: Back at Square One?

Hopefully, 2013 was a pretty good year for you–your fund development efforts paid off after a lot of hard work.  Hooray!

We’re at the beginning of a bright, shiny New Year.  Hooray!

And at the beginning of each bright, shiny New Year, we have a bright shiny new budget hungry for funding all over again.  Bummer.

As you know by now, fundraising is rarely a “one and done” kind of endeavor.  If your organization is going to be sustainable into the future, your fund development program needs to be ongoing and continually building on itself.

That being said, the start of a new year is the opportunity to evaluate the previous year’s successes and challenges and put a plan in place for 2014.  You’re not exactly back at square one, but it can feel like it.  To help you get off to a positive start, here’s quick checklist of fund development plan elements you’ll want to pay attention to.

  • Do a quick audit of your fund development efforts.  What’s your current situation?  What’s your goal for 2014?  We’ve developed a tool that you might find is a useful guide as you do this self-assessment:  Sustainable Future Audit.
  • Create (or review) your case.  What are your donations used for?  What critical need do they meet?
  • Review your database.  Are your donor records up to date?  Do you have current contact information for donors and prospective donors?
  • Develop your team.  Continue your education of your staff and Board on their role in your organization’s fundraising efforts.
  • Cultivate your donors.  What’s your communication plan with current donors?  How are you reaching out to possible new donors?  What is your schedule and method of solicitation?
  • Prepare for the ask.  Which of your donors will you want to meet in person to ask for a gift?  Who will ask for the meeting?  Who will make the actual request?  What level of donation will you suggest for each prospect?

This list isn’t exhaustive, but it will help you get a start on your fund development plan for 2014.  And that’s going to set you up for another successful year of supporting the mission, vision and values of your organization.  Hooray!