A Strategic Plan is Not a Development Plan.
Your Development Plan is the Next Step
Has your organization recently updated its strategic plan or is about to begin that process? If the answer is yes, that is great news! Thinking about your short- and long-term organizational goals and strategies to achieve them is integral to the well-being of any healthy nonprofit.
At The Curtis Group, we advise our clients that including specific fundraising objectives in your strategic plan is a must.
However, far too often, we find that many nonprofits stop short of creating a development plan to help them achieve the fundraising goals identified in that planning process.
- Is a deep dive into your organization’s fundraising goals and projected outcomes
- Allows you to set clearly defined fundraising targets and track your progress
- Serves as a fundraising roadmap for board and staff
- Ensures consistency during times of transition within your organization
Includes clear actionable steps and assigns responsibility and deadlines
Who Should Create the Plan?
What Should You Consider As You Set Your Goals?
- Consider every aspect of your department including annual fund, membership, donor retention, special projects, fundraising events, planned gifts, major gifts and board involvement.
- Look deep at key donor data points such as trends in donor retention and stewardship, number of donors at each gift level, and corporate, foundation and individual giving totals.
- Structure each goal within a set timeframe with defined metrics
- Who are the right people to execute the action items?
- How will you track progress and maintain accountability?
Make Sure You Are Thinking Strategically
You want to do more than just fill a hole in your budget or simply increase last year’s dollars raised.
Employing tailored strategies for executing each goal is imperative. Intuitively, we know the strategies and tactics needed to increase a major gift donor’s engagement is going to be different from the level of outreach needed for a lower level donor. Include appropriate strategies for every donor level.
- Consider producing a gift table to clearly illustrate the number of donors needed at each level to reach your goal.
- Consider how you can use or create these opportunities to engage your donors are a part of your development plan. And be creative! Donors want to feel appreciated, have a relationship with your organization and know the impact of their gift.
- Consider revisiting the plan at your board meetings quarterly to track progress. This will help keep the board engaged and hold everyone accountable. Include last fiscal year’s results in your plan as a benchmark. The plan can be a working document that can be updated throughout the year. And, when you write next year’s plan, your current plan can be used as a starting point.
What Are Some of the Common Pitfalls You Want to Avoid?
- No concrete goals
- Choosing the wrong leadership to implement the plan
- Unrealistic expectations
- Trying to do too much at one time
- No one values the planning process
- Staff does not involve the board
- Avoiding the process altogether