IMPROVING your organisation’s fundraising and bringing in new revenue streams can be challenging. Success starts with creating a fundraising plan. Martin Baker, CEO of the Charity Learning Consortium, explains three things to consider before you start – with some useful tips and tools that can help.
Creating a plan – for pretty much anything – helps you think upfront about how best to create a solid foundation. Life is unpredictable but having a flexible plan can help keep you focused. It’s a working document that can be reviewed, updated and re-worked if necessary – any plan should be flexible, and allow you to adapt to changing circumstances.
A fundraising plan outlines how you’re going to meet your future targets, setting out your marketing ideas and financial goals, taking into account your overall organisational strategy. But before you start writing there are several things to consider.
- Mission and vision
To ensure sustainable success, with a purposeful fundraising plan, it’s important to first understand your organisation’s mission and vision:
- A mission statement focuses on today, and what the organisation does. Do you know what yours is?
- A vision statement focuses on the future, and what an organisation wants to become. Do you understand yours?
- Internal factors
When considering internal factors, there are several things that might help:
- A stakeholder analysis: To examine the different groups with an interest in your organisation, such as beneficiaries, funders, members or other organisations. This can help you identify the different voices that need to be heard when making strategic plans. A two-way, continuous dialogue with priority stakeholders is key to achieving your future fundraising goals. Krystyna Gadd has created a really useful and simple stakeholder analysis grid which you can find here.
- A SWOT analysis: A useful technique for understanding your organisation’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Used in a fundraising context, it can help you carve a sustainable niche in your market. Maximising impact is about building on what you do best.
- A risk analysis: What is your organisation’s attitude to risk? What are your risk management practices? Understanding how your organisation thinks and works is vital to improving performance and effectiveness.
- A competitor analysis: Assessing what other organisations are doing can help you identify what makes your organisation unique.
Find out more about analysing internal factors in this video in the free Clear Lessons library.
- External factors
It’s also essential to consider how external factors might affect your fundraising potential. The PESTLE model can help you focus on six influences that can have an impact on your organisation.
- Political: A change in government or policy can affect funding, for example, because of new taxation and regulations.
- Economic: Economic downturns will obviously impact your ability to fundraise, but it’s worth looking in more detail at who your supporters are and considering their current circumstances.
- Sociological: This means considering things like population growth, age distribution and careers in the area where you fundraise.
- Technological: We all know technology evolves quickly. Those organisations that adapt to digital needs may be ahead of others. Using technology can enhance efficiency, improve task management, streamline documentation and provide new ways to communicate. However, always identify needs first – and as Andy Lancaster warns in The little book of Digital learning, ‘Beware of fads, look for trends!’
- Legal: Make sure you adhere to the Fundraising Code of Practice.
- Environmental: Adopting ‘green’ principles affects the marketing and fundraising collateral that you create, for example, sourcing products made from sustainable and ethical materials.
The video above in the free Clear Lessons library also shows this information in a visually engaging way.
Find out more about fundraising in the Charity Learning Consortium’s new collection of animated videos. These are freely available to all charity sector staff and volunteers in the Clear Lessons video learning library. They’re perfect for creating training programmes for fundraisers.
Martin Baker is the founder and CEO of the Charity Learning Consortium, a collaborative group of more than 250 third sector organisations using a digital approach to meet the skills needs of their staff and volunteers.