It seems like only yesterday we were in the throes of the 2016 presidential election and Thanksgiving. And now, it’s 2017 and it’s time to start planning fundraisers for the next 12 months.
Here at CauseVox, we realize that you’re just ending the busy year-end fundraising push. However, there really is no time like the present to get planning.
Being prepared is half the battle, right?
But whether you’re a professional new to the field of development or a seasoned fundraiser with a few decades of “friend-raising” under your belt, you still have to start create a fundraising plan that aligns with your goals.
To help you decide the best fundraisers for the upcoming year, start by asking yourself these 7 questions.
“To help you decide the best fundraisers for the upcoming year, start by asking yourself these 7 questions.” tweet this
1. What Is Our Need?
The best place to start is at the beginning. So first, determine your need.
Work with your finance department and management to sort out programming costs, administrative overhead, and any other budgetary matters. For a baseline, look at your revenue and expenses from the last fiscal year. Then, factor in any changes to that budget including cost of living adjustments and program changes.
Ideally, you want to know the exact amount you need to raise to run your nonprofit or charity successfully for the next 12 months.
2. What Are Our Funding Sources?
Most nonprofit strategists recommend a diversified funding strategy that includes:
- Individual donations
- Support from businesses/corporations
- Foundations and grants
- Earned income (fee for service, event fees, membership fees, etc.)
By the beginning of the calendar and/or fiscal year, you should know about any governmental or private foundation and grant money you’ve been awarded.
Next, compare your need to your known income sources to figure out how much you need to raise from traditional fundraisers.
3. What is Our Fundraising Budget?
Know your fundraising budget before planning your fundraisers for the year.
Again, work with the person in charge of finance/budgeting to determine a fundraising budget that meets your needs. Consider costs for line items such as staff time, event space, and marketing materials.
4. What Does Our Staff Support Look Like?
Is it just you or do you have a fundraising team ready to tackle a number of fundraising events over the course of the year? Staff support is an essential factor when determining the number and scope of events you hope to run over the next year.
If your staff support is lacking, consider recruiting volunteers to help.
5. How Are We Engaging Our Supporters?
Speaking of recruiting volunteers, think of fundraising as one way for you to engage your current supporters.
“Think of fundraising as one way for you to engage your current supporters.” tweet this
By now, you may have started creating a donor engagement plan for the year. Generally, your plan will detail different “touch points” to make sure you’re interacting with donors often enough. As you’ll notice, there are certain times of the year when lulls naturally occur (such as during the summer).
Instead of losing contact, motivate your donors to get involved as personal fundraisers in a peer-to-peer fundraiser. This strategy will engage your supporters and round out your fundraising plan at the same time!
6. Are We Targeting Different Segments Of Donors?
There is no “one size fits all” approach to targeting donors. In fact, what motivates one donor to give may not appeal to others. This is one of the reasons why we always stress donor segmentation.
Sure, getting to know your donors and then developing a communications plan and fundraising opportunities around different segments sounds hard—but it’s worth it!
First, understand the types of fundraisers your donors will respond to. For example, online peer-to-peer fundraisers are a great way to encourage Millennials to give. On the other hand, your Baby Boomer donors may appreciate a direct mail campaign. So, switch it up over the course of the year to appeal to all donor segments.
7. How Will We Reach New Donors This Year?
Times are changing and some of our tried-and-true fundraising techniques are no longer relevant like they were just a few years ago. At CauseVox, we’ve seen a noticeable shift in who has the power when it comes to fundraising and bringing new donors onboard. In fact, the power is in the hands of your current supporters.
The all-new CauseVox is poised to help your supporters connect and engage with each other in the Activity Feed. It’s a great way for them to connect and engage with friends and family.
Moving forward this year, consider how you’re using your own pool of donors, volunteers, and others close to your organization to fuel fundraising efforts. For best results, plan recruitment activities such as peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns or asking current donors to “refer a friend” who may be interested in your cause.
As you start incorporating these simple people fundraising tactics into your fundraising plan, you’ll begin to notice a positive shift in the relationships with your current and new donors.
Determining your fundraisers for this year doesn’t have to be hard. Start by looking at the resources you have and compare them to your need. Then, build out a comprehensive fundraising plan that targets different donor segments.
“Determining your fundraisers for this year doesn’t have to be hard.” tweet this
In the end, you’ll be bringing in money for your organization, while also engaging and retaining your donors.
For specific fundraising ideas, including estimated cost and return, check out 101+Fundraising Ideas for Nonprofits. In addition, guidelines and suggestions for donor retention and engagement can be found in our resource Donor Engagement & Retention Playbook.