Three things you need in place for a successful fundraising strategy

Where are you? Where do you want to go? How are you going to get there?

Katie Rabone, Director at Fundraising Action, poses three key questions that fundraisers need to answer in order to put an effective fundraising strategy in place.

As the axiom goes, a strategy details where you are, where you want to go and how you are going to get there.  Follow these steps, and you have a good foundation to build from.   However, beware the dreaded off-the-shelf strategy. A SWOT that lists the generic headlines that all of the sector will encounter doesn’t pinpoint what is truly relevant to your organisation.  Adding a standard % increase to an income stream over a 3-5 year period without any evidence of potential for growth is pointless. A gift table to reach a capital fundraising target with no real sense of why you need to approach, and if it is possible to find, 10 £200k donors to secure 1, is in a word, senseless.

Where are you?

Audit, audit, audit.  As well as macro/external trends, what has been the ROI in your organisation to date for fundraising overall/individual streams?  How well-researched, written and presented were your previous approaches?  Is your organisation safe and legal and ready to fundraise?  There are many critical success factors that need to be met to give your organisation its best chance to compete in a competitive fundraising market.

Where do you want to go?

A fundraiser is only as good as the priorities and products they have to sell in to supporters.  A fundraiser can’t do their job to the best of their ability without a business plan and overall organisational strategy that highlight priority projects, organisational development goals and more.

How you are going to get there?

Which are the best income streams for your organisation to pursue?  Is this based on market trends, ROI to date?  Alongside your fundraising objectives and overall direction, a useful strategy will detail the tactics to get the job done.  Mapping the who, what, when, where and how much and translating these into detailed work plans will really focus the mind and help you to monitor progress.

A final word.  Don’t let perfection get in the way of progress.  ANY strategy document should be well-thumbed, referred to and reviewed on a regular basis.  A mix of emergent and deliberate thinking is usually the best approach.