Nonprofit Fundraising: From Ad Hoc to Ongoing
August 3, 2021

When nonprofits first start up, fundraising can be an ad hoc process, with intense campaigns followed by fallow periods. As organizations grow and acquire staff and support, they generally decide that fundraising needs to be ongoing. But it can be hard to maintain focus and momentum without a strategic fundraising plan. Here’s how to create one.

Building on Past Experience

The first step to a solid fundraising plan is to form a fundraising committee. This should consist of board members, your executive director and other key staffers. You may also want to include major donors and active community members.

Committee members need to start by reviewing past sources of funding and past fundraising approaches and weighing the advantages and disadvantages of each. Even if your overall fundraising efforts have been less than successful, some sources and approaches may still be worth keeping. Next, brainstorm new donation sources and methods and select those with the greatest fundraising potential.

As part of your plan, outline the roles you expect board members to play in fundraising efforts. For example, in addition to making their own donations, they can be crucial links to corporate and individual supporters.

Developing an Action Plan

Once the committee has developed a plan for where to seek funds and how to ask for them, it’s time to create a fundraising budget that includes operating expenses, staff costs and volunteer projections. After the plan and budget have board approval, develop an action plan for achieving each objective and assign tasks to specific individuals.

Most important, once you’ve set your plan in motion, don’t let it sit on the shelf. Regularly evaluate the plan and be ready to adapt it to organizational changes and unexpected situations. Although you want to give new fundraising initiatives time to succeed, don’t be afraid to cut your losses if it’s obvious an approach isn’t working.

Maintaining Strong Cash Flow

Don’t wait until your nonprofit’s coffers are nearly dry before firing up a fundraising campaign. Fundraising should be ongoing and constantly evolving. Contact us for advice on maintaining strong cash flow.

© 2021

You might also like

Even a Lower-Cost Benefits Menu Can Help Attract Talent

Even a Lower-Cost Benefits Menu Can Help Attract Talent

Some job candidates assume that nonprofit organizations offer lower compensation than for-profit companies do. If your nonprofit has open positions, this can be a difficult hurdle to overcome — particularly if you don’t have the budget to compete with for-profit...

read more
Thinking Ahead to Your Next Form 990

Thinking Ahead to Your Next Form 990

The deadline for most nonprofits to file Form 990 with the IRS (May 15, 2024) has come and gone. Assuming your organization operates on a calendar-year tax basis and filed its Form 990 on time, you probably don’t want to think about tax reporting again until next...

read more
Why Private Foundations Need to Avoid Self-Dealing

Why Private Foundations Need to Avoid Self-Dealing

If you’re a leader of a private foundation, you’re probably aware of the prohibition against self-dealing transactions between foundations and “disqualified persons.” But what constitutes self-dealing? And who exactly counts as disqualified in this context? It’s...

read more