The new year brings a fresh start to fundraising: new goals, new campaigns, new strategies and if all goes well, new donors. To stay on track, effective, and prepared, nonprofits are turning to Nonprofit Success Plans to fuel their growth.
Taking a cue from the for-profit world, organizations are planning out their annual fundraising from top level goals and priorities, down to the detailed campaigns and events.
These Nonprofit Success Plans are a lifeline for any nonprofit. In the fast-moving world of fundraising, where unforeseen changes often happen throughout the year, these plans outline your fundraising strategy A to Z.
As a busy nonprofit fundraiser, you are likely saying right now: “I’d love to have a success plan, but I don’t know how to even get started?”
Have no fear! We’ve assembled this step-by-step guide to help your nonprofit build a success plan today.
In this blog, we’ll cover the basics needed to create your own Nonprofit Success Plan:
Let’s get started!
The first step in nonprofit success planning is, well: to plan. We all like to jump in and get going. But taking a step back to get organized, provides the solid foundation you’ll need to develop a solid plan.
Here’s your preparation basics.
No one said you had to do it alone. The more nonprofit viewpoints and voices involved in your Nonprofit Success Plan, the better. Even if you are a small nonprofit, you can recruit your board, donors, and experienced volunteers to help create your plan.
Remember your planning committee is the brain trust of any Nonprofit Success Plan, so be selective when recruiting your team. It’s also an opportunity to create and cultivate deeper relationships with your supporters. Look for individuals that are:
The first thing you and your committee can do to build your success plan, is define your fundraising objectives for the year. This means outlining what you want to accomplish and the areas you will focus on.
We recommend bucketing your fundraising objectives into five core areas:
Choose the areas under each bucket that you want to focus on in your Nonprofit Success Plan. You don’t need to tackle them all – start small and pick a few key that will drive impact in this year. Once you have objectives outlined, you’ve taken the first step to planning success!
Like any good roadmap, you need to know where you came from before you can get started! It’s now time to review prior performance. Think of this step as evaluating last year’s balance sheet.
Assess your fundraising at both the macro and micro level, so that you have a full view and historical baseline to inform your nonprofit success plan.
Promise, this too can be easy! For OneCause customers, just download or export your fundraising analytics. Or for those using donor databases, accounting software or excel, grab your data from there. No matter what you use, the important thing is to review past data!
To determine past performance start with these questions:
Once you are armed with your basic fundraising data, it’s time to identify where your fundraising is meeting or missing the mark.
This next step is often overlooked. In benchmarking nonprofits from all over the country, those that are achieving fundraising excellence, perform some form of a FUND analysis as part of their success planning.
The great benefit of a FUND Analysis is that you segment your fundraising through the lens of ongoing donor engagement (i.e., the fundraising journey).
Complete these FUND steps to identify your growth targets and improvement areas. Ask yourself the following questions:
Conducting a FUND Analysis requires a little more time upfront, but the investment will certainly pay off. Armed with this data, you will be able to create and measure the where, how and who of your nonprofit success plan.
Now the fun really begins. It’s time to set your goals and create your actual Nonprofit Success Plan. Let’s get ready to grow your fundraising!
Take your performance data and your FUND Analysis and plug it into any Excel worksheet or use our easy template.
Congratulations! You’ve got your Nonprofit Success Plan. But before you jump in and start executing, it’s a good practice to get your planning on the fundraising calendar.
Last step into your success planning. Look at the year ahead and plot your fundraising activities large and small.
For each month, add your macro and micro campaigns and events, paying special attention to making sure you have a balance of fundraising types.
This annual calendar will be your fundraising blueprint for the year. The fundraising calendar works hand in hand with your Nonprofit Success Plan; think of it as your official schedule for all you will accomplish this year.
Be sure to share both your Nonprofit Success Plan and Fundraising Calendar with your board, team, and key volunteers to get everyone aligned, excited, and on the path to fundraising excellence!
Now that you’ve nailed your Nonprofit Success Plan, it’s time to rest up and prepare to rock the year! To keep it easy, we’ve created this template for you, to summarize the high-level steps for you and your team to follow.
These steps will ensure nothing slips through the cracks when you’re planning your most amazing fundraising year yet!
Having a success plan in place can help your nonprofit chart a course for fundraising excellence. Try it, make it your own, and don’t be afraid to revise it. Things move fast in fundraising, so adjust as needed.
Our Customer Success team stands ready to help you on your path to fundraising success. Feel free to reach out, if you would like to discuss your Nonprofit Success Plan today.
About the Authors: Dan Goode & Jennifer Mendoza, Directors of OneCause Customer Success
Dan Goode is a Director of Customer Success at OneCause, supporting Small and Medium sized nonprofits alongside our team of customer success managers. Dan’s passion is helping nonprofits plan, grow and reach new donors with new ideas.
Jennifer Mendoza is a Director of Customer Success at OneCause, overseeing the Enterprise and Large Sized nonprofit success team. Jen has been helping nonprofits at OneCause since 2012, bringing her passion for fundraising excellence to thousands of events, and nonprofits from across the country.
Inspired to do some more research to execute your best success plan yet? Check out these resources to help get you there.