Fundraising, Individual donors

Creating a strategic plan for growing individual giving: six steps

Nick Day gives you six steps to creating a strategic plan for growing individual giving.

A strategic plan for growing individual giving is a vital part of your overall strategy.

1. Where are we now?

Doing your research and analysis is the vital first step to successful planning. It can seem daunting, but essentially you need to work out answers to four key questions.

  • What are our internal strengths – the things we know we do well?
  • What are our internal weaknesses – the things that hold us back?
  • What are our external opportunities – the ways we can achieve growth?
  • What are our external threats – the things that might damage or limit our potential to grow?

Answering these 4 questions will help you to be realistic about what can be achieved and by when.

2. Where do we want to be?

  • This is about setting clear objectives and goals that performance can be measured against. It should answer questions like:
  • By how much do we want to increase income from individual giving and by when?
  • How many new donors do we want to recruit and by when?
  • What improvement do we want to achieve in donor retention rate and by when?
  • What increase do we want to achieve from donor regular giving and by when?

3. How do we get there?

There are 4 basic ways of achieving growth:

  • Developing a strategy to retain the donors you already have and increase income from them with the propositions and ‘products’ you already have.
  • Finding new donors through developing and deploying an acquisition strategy.
  • Developing a new ‘products’ and proposition strategy to increase and broaden the ways that existing donors can give and support.
  • Creating new ‘products’ and propositions to attract and acquire new donors.

Ultimately, it’s about balancing risk. The first two options come with the lowest risk, but alone, may not deliver the long-term growth you want to achieve!

4. What tools do we need?

This is about identifying the right messages and channels to deliver them through, to achieve the chosen growth strategies. A combination of online and offline channels will probably be needed – the key is to ensure effective integration across them all.

5. Who does what?

Mapping activities, responsibilities and budgets both in-house and with suppliers is essential. Having a spreadsheet that can be easily shared and updated is key.

6. Have we succeeded?

Consider your goals and objectives and map a set of smaller targets and key achievement milestones against each. Sharing continuing success is essential to keeping teams motivated and helps build great stories to share with donors.