When I ran online fundraising for a non-profit, I always resolved to start planning my fundraising strategy for the next year in October.
But then October would arrive and I would think I’d do it just as soon as I had the year-end appeal going. Then GivingTuesday would fly by, we’d all go on leave and I’d be back at my desk in January without a strategy for the year.
If this sounds familiar, don’t worry! I can help you get a plan in place for this year in about four hours! To help you out, I’ve created this handy worksheet for download, free of charge.
Before you start, you’ll need to know how much money you need to raise in 2018, making use of various fundraising avenues such as proposals, corporate funding and online fundraising. If you don’t have the number, ask for your organisation’s budget for 2018 or ask your accountant to give a summary of costs that need to be covered through fundraising activities and donations. From this, set the amount you wish to raise from online fundraising activities.
Start with why
First you need to know why you need a strategy in the first place. If you dig deep, you can often come up with strong messaging for your campaigns for the rest of the year.
To do this, we’re going to ask “Why?” at least three times. Firstly, why do we need to raise funds in 2018? A quick look at your budget might tell you the reason is to feed 2,000 homeless people and cover your charity’s overheads for six months, for example. Jot that down on a scrap of paper.
Now, ask why all the activities and overheads you wrote down earlier are so important. Is it because they stop homeless people from feeling hungry? Lastly, ask why it’s important to stop them from feeling hungry. Could it be having one less thing to worry about and being able to focus on finding a job or allowing their body time to heal from an injury?
If you’re happy with your “why”, write it down, if not keep asking until you get to something meaningful. Throughout the year, you can circle back to this and check that your messaging and activities are meeting this purpose.
Where your donors are
Next, think about your best donors – they might not be the ones who give the most, but they’re your biggest supporters. Now think where you most often connect with them. Do they love in-person meetings and events? Are they sporty or do they prefer a music concert? Do they like every picture on Instagram but never go on Twitter?
Now write down the various events and opportunities that your organisation uses to raise funds throughout the year. (It could be a gala dinner, big walk, partnering with a sporting event in your area, a bake-off or other activity you do every year – or would like to start doing in 2018.)
The what, when and who of reaching your goals
Pick one to three opportunities that you think have the potential for raising the most funds online and are well spaced out over the year. Match your capacity and resources to running the fundraisers.
Next, write out what needs to happen to make each of those activities a success. Include when each will take place and who needs to be involved to make it fly. You might want to include other details like the projected cost, target audience etc.
How will you know you met your goal?
Lastly, decide how you will measure if your online fundraising strategy is a success. Tracking a few key numbers throughout the year will help you work out if your strategy is working or if you need to do things differently. You can find most of these numbers by analysing the data available to you through GivenGain. To start with, you’ll want to track the number of donations, donations to fundraising pages, the number of active fundraisers, and donation revenue.
Now that you’ve got your strategy in place, take a deep breath and begin doing a few activities to make the most of the first online fundraising opportunity you’ve selected. Having a strategy will help keep you focused during the coming year and on track to achieving your goals.
If you’ve got a cause you care about, I’m here to help you grow and fund it. My name is Wendy van Eyck and I am obsessed with teaching non-profit fundraisers and marketers with few resources, little time and high targets how to generate the funding they need to bring change to a community they care about. Find free resources and ideas at http://www.solofundraiser.com/.
Wendy van Eyck
Non-Profit Communications Expert