A fundraising assessment. A development office audit. A SWOT of your fundraising program.
What are these things?
They're the first step to creating a killer fundraising strategy that can unlock your fundraising potential.
Before you can create a strategy and a plan of execution, you have to step back and assess where you are.
This is time to calmly, dispassionately take stock, examine what you have to work with, and evaluate how well things are working.
A fundraising assessment gives you the opportunity to look at your fundraising program analytically.
Without emotion. Without drama. No more crisis mode fundraising!
A Fundraising Assessment can tell you a lot.
- You can identify current successes and where you can build them up.
- You can identify where the easy money might be that you are missing.
- You can identify unproductive time wasters like certain fundraising events, that are not worth the trouble.
5 Steps to a Thoughtful Fundraising Assessment
1. Pull together your data.
What does your data tell you?
What are the trends?
How about the numbers of current donors - are they trending up or down?
How about your donor renewal rates and donor attrition?
Event attendees? How about the number of donors in your annual gift clubs?
What about major gifts? Are you tracking Major Gift visits and asks?
You know what I love about data? The numbers don't really lie. They are pretty straightforward, in black and white.
Always start with the data when you want to make a plan.
2. Ask the tough questions.
When you do a fundraising assessment you have permission to ask politically awkward questions.
You can ask Cage Rattling Questions like:
Can we be honest about what's working and what's not working?
Are we wiling to ditch unproductive programs?
You can get an entire list of "tough questions" to ask about your fundraising strategy in last week's post here.
3. Assess each fundraising program's current results.
Review all your various fundraising programs - mailings, events, major gifts, grants, corporate and foundation support, digital strategies. What results are you getting?
- What's working well? What's working not so well?
- What trends are on the rise?
- What strategies are not paying off like they used to?
You should be able to see where your opportunities might be if you shift your focus.
You might be able to add resources somewhere and receive a significant jump up in revenue.
Don't forget to assess other aspects that impact your fundraising success:
- your back office,
- board and leadership support for fundraising,
- data systems and
- internal culture of philanthropy.
It can be fun - and enlightening - to step back and evaluate everything. Include your board in this discussion!
4. Identify your fundraising challenges.
Yes, challenges are a part of life.
If you want to know how much you can raise, you must be willing to acknowledge what's not working so well.
- Are there people who are impediments to good fundraising?
- What's NOT working? Where are you wasting time?
- Are you losing too many donors each year?
- Have you cut your fundraising budget and staff but not your fundraising expectations?
- Is your staff totally run ragged?
- Is your signature event losing steam?
Just be realistic.
Wistful thinking is not going to raise your money!
Being realistic will lead to smart decisions and planning.
Being realistic will help you sleep at night too.
Always try to turn your challenges into your opportunities!
5. Identify your fundraising opportunities.
Every organization has special opportunities. What are yours?
Perhaps you have:
- A great location in town.
- A cause that is suddenly very popular.
- Were you recently in the news?
- A very popular gala or event.
- A new CEO or leader.
- New internet or social media talent joining your team.
- Is your board suddenly interested in helping?
Take a look around. You might find some surprises you can play up and run with.
Sometimes amazing results can happen by building on opportunities.
Can you form a coalition? Can you build on key relationships?
Be alert. Be strategic. Be opportunistic, even.
Maybe a key relationship can offer opportunities to catapult your organization to a whole new level.
Pull it all together in your Fundraising Assessment.
- How effective is our current fundraising plan?
- Where can we increase your fundraising revenue streams?
- Where do we need to focus time, energy and resources?
- Where can we increase our efficiency?
Bottom Line: What's holding YOU back from raising big money?
I can help you answer these questions with my Highly Profitable Fundraising Planning Toolkit.
You have a template to perform your own SWOT and Fundraising Assessment of your own program.
You'll have a 10-Point set of checklists to help you determine where your best opportunities are.
I'll help you step back from the weeds and look at how you can raise money in new and better ways.
When you create a smart, strategic Fundraising Plan for the coming year, you'll be organized. You'll be happier. And your organization will raise more money!
QUESTION: what are your challenges with your own Fundraising Assessment?
Leave a comment and let us know!
The post The Must-Do First Step in Creating a Profitable Fundraising Plan appeared first on Fired-Up Fundraising with Gail Perry.