Did you know that there’s a right way—and a wrong way—to read a weather app? We certainly didn’t. But Forbes recently revealed four common mistakes people make using weather apps, and now we’ll never read weather forecasts on our phones the same way again.
What does the weather have to do with nonprofit fundraising?
Nonprofit leaders are often monitoring where the fundraising winds are blowing—whether it’s trends in donor giving, emerging fundraising tactics, or shifts in our current donors’ interests or capacity. Unfortunately, it’s easy to get caught up and make decisions based on the latest “funding weather report”—chasing those promised blue skies ahead.
But without a strategic plan, you could end up raising money that results in “mission drift” or that funds specific projects while starving your organization’s operational needs. Here at Funding for Good, we’ve seen firsthand how frustrating and damaging this can be for Executive Directors and Boards of Directors.
Luckily, a strategic plan can not only help keep your mission on track but make your fundraising more sustainable, effective, and efficient.
For Sustainable Fundraising, Strategic Planning is Essential
A strategic plan is a must-have tool in your fundraising toolkit—and one of the best gifts you can give your fundraising staff. At Funding for Good, we’ve seen dozens of nonprofits leverage strategic plans to enhance their fundraising. Here’s how:
- A strategic plan inspires donors to support your nonprofit’s vision, while also demonstrating that your organization has the skills to turn that vision into reality.
- By outlining goals, objectives, and outcomes, your plan serves as the basis for your fundraising materials. Fundraisers can prepare better and faster proposals, connecting potential donor gifts to your long-term vision for impact. In addition, many institutional funders now proactively ask organizations to share their strategic plans as part of the application process.
- Identifying both your long-term goals and related fundraising needs, strategic planning focuses your Board of Directors, leadership, and staff around a consistent fundraising message and goal. This helps prioritize funding requests and ensure the best use of precious time and resources.
As a nonprofit leader, you aren’t raising money only for today. You’re raising money to keep your organization vibrant, sustainable, and successful for years to come. Strategic planning helps you achieve just that.