How-To Develop a Fundraising Plan



The New Year brings new resolutions and goal-setting to our lives. I bet you have already been thinking of how your organization wants to grow its fundraising goals. This blog will walk you through how to set your fundraising goals for the New Year.


First Fundraising Goal: How much do you need to fundraise to support the nonprofit organization, its programs, building and people?

The first is the dollar amount of how much you want to raise this year. Base this amount on the financial needs of the organization. Most likely, you will want to meet with your CFO or top financial staff member to determine the fundraising amount needed to meet this year’s budget.

You can set this goal in a number of ways including:

  • Total dollar amount to raise
  • New donors acquired
  • Increase from current donor giving


First Fundraising Goal

Set the objectives:

  • Identify initiatives for fundraising the money.
    • Will you send a direct mail letter at the end of the year?
    • Will you submit grants to foundation?
    • Will you host a special event?
    • Will you solicit corporate sponsorships?
    • Will you cultivate and solicit individual donors?
    • Will you offer methods for individual to make a planned gift?
  • Set monetary goals for each fundraising initiative.
    • Look at how much each initiative raised last year and make your best estimate on if it will raise the same, more or less based on the organization’s past success and current circumstances.
  • When will these fundraising initiatives be deployed?
    • Create a fundraising calendar listing all initiatives and when they will occur within the year.

Under the fundraising goals, you will want to set objectives. If your total fundraising dollar amount is $1,000,000, identify which fundraising initiatives you will utilize and how much each one will raise. To determine these initiatives and amounts, look at the past 2 years of fundraising to understand which initiatives have been most successful for your organization. Identify ways to improve initiatives that have had a lower return – or consider eliminating these efforts if they take too much time and effort in comparison to the monetary return.

Then break out your total goal into categories of major donors, special events, grants, endowment, direct mail, general gifts, etc.

Goal: Fundraise $1,0000,000 in unrestricted funding

  • Objective 1: Cultivate and solicit individual major donors
    • Strategy: Launch “Major Funder Champions” giving campaign
      • Corresponding fundraising tool: “Major Funder Champions” giving campaign description
    • Strategy: Development Director and board members to meet with donors one-on-one to cultivate the individual as a donor
      • Corresponding fundraising tools: moves management worksheet
    • Strategy: Host private salon event quarterly to engage new potential donors through our current major donors and expand the organization’s potential donor pool.
      • Corresponding fundraising tools: private salon program agenda and timeline, host role, letter to host, invitation sample, and donor packet contents.


Second Fundraising Goal: How will you effectively communicate about your organization to donors to persuade them to give?

Set the objectives:

  • Write a case for support
  • Set a budget to show the income expected through fundraising (and other revenue-generating sources and expenses (like programs, staff, etc.) that the fundraising wills support.
  • Develop a program evaluation to demonstrate to donors that your programs have successful outcomes and positive impact of the individuals you serve.


Third Fundraising Goal: Who will make introductions to potential donors?

Set the objectives:

  • Do you have board members who will make donations?
  • Do you have board members who will make introductions to donors (individuals, foundations or corporations)?
  • Do you need to train the board on their role and responsibilities within fundraising?
  • If not, can you recruit these board members?
  • Do you have a Fundraising Committee consisting of board and community members to help the organization with fundraising?
  • If not, how would you recruit, install and orient this committee?
  • If you do, how will you motivate them to help with fundraising this year? What specific initiatives will they help with and how?


Fourth Fundraising Goal: Who will implement the fundraising efforts day-to-day?

Set the objectives:

  • Do you have the (right) staff to conduct the fundraising initiatives you have identified so you reach your goal?
  • If not, how will you go about hiring this staff member(s)?
  • If so, how will you train and support this staff member so s/he can achieve the fundraising goal?


Fifth Fundraising Goal: How will you ensure donors give again next year?

Set the objectives:

  • How will you thank donors? Letter? Phone call? Small gift?
  • How will you further engage the donors with the organization (ex: a volunteer, board or committee member)?
  • How will you demonstrate to a donor how their donation has made a significant impact on the organization and the individuals it serves?

How do you make these goals a reality this year? Create a fundraising plan or what I like to call a Strategic Development Assessment and Plan.

Email me if you would like to flush out your fundraising goals with strategies, activities, and custom-made tools for accomplishing each one.

Examples of custom-made tools can include:

  • Special Event Plan
  • Grant Proposal
  • Direct Mail Appeal
  • Next Gen Philanthropy Plan
  • Major Donor Plan
  • Online Fundraising Strategies
  • Capital Campaign Project
  • Annual Report/Stewardship





One Comment Add yours

  1. Susanne Stanford says:

    See you at the USD Symposium. I miss you. I am finally recovering from my laryngitis bout. That is why you have not heard from me. Send a new Baby Tre photo, please.


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