January 8, 2020

Is Your Fundraising Plan The Best Possible? Find Out


While many nonprofit leaders produce fundraising plans to check off a to-do box, you want more. You seek a plan to find a way, stay on track, measure progress, and remind yourself of the next task. You want your plan to summarize precisely how your organization will obtain the revenue it needs to survive and thrive.

Have you created the best plan possible? Here are three criteria to transform your strategic thinking into high-quality documents. Read these insider secrets, then update your plan to reflect these essentials.

Three Benchmarks to Ensure Your Fundraising Plan is Your Guide to Grow Revenue 

1. Shut Your Backdoors.

Valuable fundraising plans first protect current income. They invest in donor stewardship and more. These plans outline how you will safeguard all your existing revenue, including government sources. For every income stream you enjoy now, does your plan guide you on how to keep that stream flowing?

2. Be Anti-Diversity.

Nonprofit revenue is not a democratic process. Instead, it’s an opportunist’s gold mine. Less than 10 percent of donors give 90 percent of the donations in most organizations. Robust plans establish priorities highlighting income streams with the most potential return over three to five years. Does your fundraising plan highlight activities with the biggest payoffs, such as getting major gifts? Check your plan.

Which income source do you expect to have the greatest return this year? How about next year and the year after?

3. Tell How. Really.

Last year, I worked with a client who wanted to increase a decade-old gala’s income by 25 percent. Given the event’s constraints, this would be wildly optimistic.

Yet, they did it. How? Hard work. And a plan included a robust gala committee with the guts to double ticket prices and add other upgrades to provide new value. The result? The new ticket income provided 50 percent of the new receipts, and the unique activities generated the rest of the revenue. In other words, the plan REALLY told how they would meet the fundraising goal. It shared who would undertake the tasks and enough tactics that anyone reading the plan would know that the goal was a stretch but doable. 

Does your plan clearly explain precisely how you will achieve your projections? Pat yourself on the back if it does. Do you have the resources you need? Do staff and anyone else involved possess the skills they need to accomplish the goals?

Does Your Fundraising Plan Standout?

Perhaps your most recent fundraising plan was weak. Maybe it outlined grand outcomes, but the nonprofit made the same or less than the previous year. You want more. Use the above insider secrets to craft a plan to guide you to reach your revenue goals.

For more answers, explore Karen’s Nonprofit CEO Library.

And sign up for Karen’s CEO Solutions for answers delivered to your inbox two times a month.

Need more help with your board? Karen is available for a mini-consult or more. Click here to email or to set a confidential chat time.

Karen Eber Davis

Karen Eber Davis provides customized advising and coaching around nonprofit strategy and board development. People leaders hire her to bring clarity to sticky situations, break through barriers that seem insurmountable, and align people for better futures. She is the author of 7 Nonprofit Income Streams and Let's Raise Nonprofit Millions Together.


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