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All nonprofit organizations, no matter the size of their budget or staff, should spend some time crafting a fundraising plan for the upcoming year. Planning ahead will allow your nonprofit to assess your goals, establish metrics, and determine how you’ll secure the funding you need.
Here are some templates, tips, and resources to help you get your plan ready and boost this year’s fundraising:
1. Fundraising plan template
Fundraising plans have multiple moving parts, including your existing resources, planned activities, major donor prospects, budget, and calendar. To help you keep these elements organized, try following our fundraising plan crash course and template.
To give your plan direction, start by asking questions about what your nonprofit wants to accomplish this upcoming year. Answer questions like:
- How much do we need to raise this year?
- How can we inspire and connect with donors?
- How can our constituents and supporters contribute to fundraising success?
- How will we measure success?
Use your past fundraising data to set goals that are challenging but achievable. These goals should inspire your team to work hard to meet them, while also reassuring them that they can be met with enough determination and careful planning.
2. Donor acquisition strategies
Your fundraising plan likely includes a few growth-related goals, which means acquiring new donors. While each donor gives for their own unique reasons, there are a few strategies that can increase your chances of success with any prospective supporter.
Explore our resource on top donor acquisition strategies like:
- Encourage current supporters to help acquire new supporters
- Conduct a feasibility study
- Leverage multichannel communications
- Host donor acquisition events
- Make the most of peak giving times
- Leverage corporate partnerships
- Show prospective donors how their gifts will be used
Keep in mind that the best strategy will depend on your target audience. For example, if you’re looking to attract more donors in your local community, in-person events are likely to be a big hit, whereas leveraging multiple communication channels can help you get in touch with new supporters online.
3. Major gifts best practices
What makes a major gift program successful? All nonprofits, regardless of size, can earn major gifts with the right best practices, such as:
- Recruiting experienced major gift officers. Choose major gift officers that are advocates for your cause, willing to do the necessary research into prospects, and able to tell a compelling story about your nonprofit, all while staying organized and collaborating with other members of your team.
- Identifying top major gift prospects. Determining major gift prospects requires assessing potential donors both for their capacity to make a large financial contribution and their likelihood to give.
- Crafting a successful major gift proposal. Major gift proposals should be personalized to each donor, while also going the extra mile to explain what each donor’s gift will accomplish and why it matters.
As part of your fundraising plan, determine your most likely major giving prospects, as well as how many major donors you’ll need to hit your fundraising goals.
4. Annual report examples
Annual reports give supporters an overview of your nonprofit’s yearly accomplishments, finances, and other updates. A well put together report presents your nonprofit as a professional organization doing meaningful work. This means your report can even inspire increased giving.
To put this year’s report together, check out these resources:
- Use questions as a jumping off point to determine your report’s format, content, and audience.
- Need a bit of inspiration for your report’s design? Explore annual reports from top nonprofits.
- Get creative with your annual report’s format using these ideas.
- Learn writing tips and nail down exactly what content should be included in your report.
- When you’re ready to get started on your report, try using a template to plan out its structure.
Consider the role your annual report will play in your fundraising plan. Along with being an opportunity to showcase some of your top accomplishments, an annual report is your chance to show supporters your commitment to transparency, demonstrate your impact, and thank donors for all the help they’ve given you throughout the year.
5. Capital campaign planning tips
Capital campaigns are a major undertaking, and a successful one can dramatically increase your nonprofit’s ability to fulfill your purpose.
If you’re planning a capital campaign this year, try following these tips:
- Determine your scale. Most capital campaigns are large-scale fundraisers that take place over multiple months. However, nonprofits can also run mini-campaigns for projects that require more resources than a normal fundraiser but not as much as a full-scale capital campaign.
- Get board buy-in. Your board is one of your campaign’s more important resources. Attain their buy-in and pitch strategies for how they can get involved to help you hit your fundraising goal.
- Conduct a feasibility study. Make sure your nonprofit is ready to launch a capital campaign by conducting a feasibility study. Partner with an external consultant who can provide an outside perspective on your nonprofit’s operations to make your study as objective as possible.
You likely won’t plan a capital campaign every year, but when you do, be ready to devote a significant amount of your fundraising planning time to it. After all, these campaigns will span months and have the potential to earn major fundraising for your nonprofit.
Start brainstorming this year’s fundraising plan
Your fundraising plan will shape your nonprofit’s direction for the year. Start planning early, and leverage every resource at your disposal to nail down details, account for challenges, and set your nonprofit up for success.