An important part of creating an effective fundraising strategy is evaluating your fundraising resources. I remember many times early on in my fundraising career where I would come home from work, go to my bedroom and stare at the ceiling blankly trying to figure out how I was going to make my fundraising goal. Looking back, I now see that what stressed me out most of the time was trying to figure out where to begin. Once I figured out a plan of attack my goals often seemed much more manageable. A great place to start is evaluating your current fundraising resources.
Here are 5 questions to ask when evaluating your fundraising resources:
1. Do you have enough manpower to reach your goal? If you work in a small development department, or are lucky enough to be THE development department, my guess is you are short on manpower. If adding paid staff to your team is not an option, consider adding a team of volunteers. Rather than thinking about how YOU are going to reach your goal, consider how many VOLUNTEERS you need to help you to reach your goal.
2. Evaluate how many prospects and donors you need to reach your goal. A great place to start is by visiting Blackbaud's free giving range calculator: https://www.blackbaud.com/nonprofit-resources/gift-range-calculator
3. Replace the # of prospects needed with the names of people who can help. Once you have determined exactly how many gifts you need, the amounts of each gift, and the number of prospects you need it is time to replace each prospect # with the name of a donor who can help. Pay careful attention to the giving levels which you do not have a prospect name for, as these levels will require more of your attention later.
4. Personally evaluate your current donor data. A great place to start evaluating your donor base is to make a list of donors which have given to your organization constantly -and possibly even upgraded their gift- for several years in a row. Pay careful attention to your mid level donors, as they are many times giving below their potential. Once you have identified a group of donors you would like to upgrade, it is time to create individual cultivation plans for each donor.
5. Evaluate your donors using other methods. A great way to engage your board in the fundraising process is to share with them your donor giving chart and your donor data base, asking them to help identify donors they have relationships with and are willing to ask to upgrade their gift. If you get stuck on a specific giving level and don't have any prospects identified, this is a great opportunity to work with your board to identify potential donors which do not currently give to your cause. Another method is to outsource your information to a professional organization to analysis your donors potential.
One thing I have found is creating a fundraising strategy and setting fundraising goals are much easier to achieve when you break down your overall goal into smaller manageable parts. Instead of trying to figure out how to raise a $1,000,000 from one donor, focus on finding 20-30 smaller gifts to help you reach your goal.