Learn what 7 questions you should ask before planning your fundraiser
Having a plan for raising money can make all the difference in the world, especially for small nonprofits. Planning doesn’t have to be hard or take a lot of time, but it does require some serious thought.
Carve out a little time to at least get the basics, if not all the detail for your coming year.
Remember that having a well-thought-out plan will move you from being reactive to being proactive, which will lessen your stress and make you more productive. And don’t we all want that?
So, grab a pen and paper and ponder these 7 questions before you finish your fundraising plan for the year.
1. How much money do we need to raise?
You need a specific goal for your plan. If you just want to “raise more money” you’re setting yourself up for failure. After all, how much is more money? $1 more? $100 more? $1,000,000 more? Think about what you want to accomplish in the coming year and what that will cost. THAT’S how much you need to raise.
2. Where will the money come from?
You need a mix of revenue streams to ensure the health of your organization. Will you raise money from individuals? Foundations? Events? Sales of some kind? Don’t set a goal without knowing where you will raise the money. And don’t try to raise all the money from just one source. If all your revenue comes from one fundraiser or one event, you’re flirting with disaster. If something happens to that one revenue stream, you’ll find yourself struggling to keep going. Also make sure that you’re not wearing people out with too many fundraisers and events. For your own sanity, you need to make sure the ones you do are bringing in enough money to be really worth it.
3. Who will we ask?
Be specific. Who will you ask for money? Create lists of potential donors to ask. Don’t expect the community at large to support you (it won’t happen). You need to target current donors, lapsed donors, and warm prospects. Target businesses for your event where you know someone on the inside. Cold calling doesn’t work too well in fundraising and it’s no fun, plus we all hate it, so don’t go there.
4. When will we ask?
Create a calendar of when you will ask. Include grant deadlines, events, sales, etc. to get a complete picture of your year. You’ll be so glad you did this!
5. How much will we ask for?
You need to think through the amount you will request from each donor. I suggest you tie it to something tangible if possible. For example, how much does it cost to provide service to someone? What does it cost to provide a meal or a night’s lodging? What does it cost to spay or neuter an animal? When you can ask someone for a gift that means something, they’ll be more likely to say “yes” to making a donation or participating in your fundraiser.
6. How will we follow up on a gift?
You need to know how you will thank your donors with a powerful thank-you letter, how you will steward gifts, and how you will build relationships. These are the KEYS to long-term success and getting repeat donations! Think this out in advance. This is NOT the time to cut corners or be reactive.
7. How soon will we ask again?
Don’t be afraid to ask several times during the year for a donation. If you only ask once during the year, I promise you that you are leaving money on the table! If you are doing a good job building relationships with your donors, they WANT to support the work you are doing. Make it easy for them by giving them multiple opportunities to give.
Once you answer these questions, you’re ready to put your plan on paper. Download my 1 Page Fundraising Plan to make the process easier.
Guest Author Bio
Sandy Rees, Founder and Chief Encouragement Officer at Get Fully Funded, shows nonprofit leaders how to fully fund their big vision, so they can spend more time changing lives instead of worrying about money. She has helped dozens of small nonprofits go from “nickel-and-dime fundraising” to adding 6 figures to their bottom line. As a trainer, she shows her students how to find ideal donors, connect through authentic messaging, and build relationships that stand the test of time, so that fundraising becomes easy and predictable. Find out more at www.GetFullyFunded.com