Regardless of whether you run an established animal sanctuary with years of experience or you’re just getting started with your organization, fundraising plans are an indispensable tool for ensuring a sustainable future for both the sanctuary and the residents you’ve committed to caring for. While it is possible to survive for some time without a basic fundraising strategy in place, all it takes are a few unexpected events, expenses, or the loss of a major funding source to throw your budget into turmoil.
Fortunately, getting started with a basic fundraising plan is simple and achievable for even the smallest of organizations, provided that you’re able to budget the time.
Step One: Create Your Revenue Budget
Take a look at how your organization has raised funds in the past. What revenue channels are you utilizing? Some typical revenue channels include:
- Major Gifts And Grants– This means different things to different sized organizations. Is $500 a significant gift to your organization? Or is the figure closer to $50,000? It’s likely that you can recall these major gifts fairly quickly.
- Online Gifts– Revenue raised on the internet, either via your website, social media, or third party fundraising tools like GoFundMe
- Recurring Gifts– The gifts that come in on a scheduled basis. Even in small amounts, these are a particularly excellent revenue source due to their reliability!
- Snail Mail– The gifts that result from mailing physical requests for giving
- Fundraising Events– The revenue raised by specific events held by your organization
- Corporate Support– The gifts granted from companies
- Workplace Giving– The individual gifts that come with matched corporate giving
- Planned Giving– The gifts that have been scheduled to be given by generous donors
From which categories are most of your donations coming from? Which might need more attention in the future? How well do your fundraising categories sync up with your budgetary needs throughout the year?
Step Two: Analyze Past Data
Use metrics to determine what trends you can find in your giving data. If you can, use data over a two to three year period to watch the progression of your fundraising strategies and their results. You can use data such as your total gift revenue, number of gifts, number of major gifts, number of donors, and the growth of your fundraising email list, among any other relevant measured values that might be useful for this analysis.
Step Three: Fill In Your Plan
Now that you’ve outlined your revenue channels and analyzed past metrics, you can create targets to establish an overall fundraising plan for the year. This could include targets for overall revenue raised, a target number of new donors, number of gifts, new recurring donors, a percentage increase of the average gift given in different revenue channels, the number of gifts received in different revenue channels, or any other relevant metrics you believe would be of value.
Your fundraising plan should also include a gift target sheet for your organization’s major gift givers. This document should include the following for each major giver:
- Their name
- The largest gift that they’ve given to your organization
- The total they gave in the past year
- The gift target which you’re hoping for them to give this year
- The assigned solicitor who will help make this target gift a reality
- The next step you’ll take towards reaching your gift target
- Any relevant information about the giver that can help the solicitor
Step Four: Outline Your Strategies
Taking into account the targets you’ve set for your upcoming fundraising year, you should now briefly describe (two sentences will suffice) what tactics you’ll use to reach your goals in each of your revenue channels. Within each revenue channel, you can also outline the specific campaigns and efforts that you plan on employing.
Step Five: Schedule Your Plan
Now that you’ve brainstormed and outlined what tactics you’ll use for fundraising, it’s important to log all of your campaigns and activities on your calendar for the upcoming year. This way, you can keep your fundraising strategies both on track and help plan other elements of your organization’s year accordingly. Many campaigns will likely have overlapping components, schedules, and events, so keeping all the moving pieces coordinated is crucial. Each organization will have different philosophies and strategies regarding when to schedule certain activities, depending on variables like need, special events, seasonal considerations, and data about their specific donor base.
Step Six: Execute Your Plan And Evaluate The Outcomes
Although it may seem obvious, all the planning in the world means little without actually doing it! Make sure to stay on target and follow through with each strategy and campaign that you’ve created, modifying strategies throughout the year if necessary. Make sure to keep track of your fundraising data across each revenue channel to the best of your ability.
Once you’ve successfully executed your fundraising plan for the year, give yourself time to celebrate, but not too much, because it will soon be time to start the whole process over again. Your new plan should grow and evolve with the help of the new data and insights gained!