Patience, Fundraising Plan Will Help Shake the Money Tree

Fundraising is tough work: you’re competing against organizations that are larger, have better connections or have more people working on raising money. How can you get ahead to shake the money tree?

By working smarter and not harder. First off, plan ahead.

Have a fundraising plan

Just as you need a good business plan to run your organization smoothly, you need a good fundraising plan for it to survive. Yes, it sounds logical, and would seem to make sense, but you’d be surprised at how many organizations don’t have any sort of plan for raising revenue. It’s the glue that holds everything together. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that anyone interested in funding you will come find you, once they’ve read of the great things you’re doing.

Bring the mountain to Mohammed

There are lots of different ways to develop a plan, and the complexity of your plan will likely depend on the complexity of your goals for the organization. For starters, think about who your potential funders might be. It can sometimes seem like there’s only a small world of funders available, particularly if you’re an organization with a highly specialized mission. That’s okay – get them down on paper, but then think a little more broadly. Does your mission fit within the broader goals of your potential funder? If you think creatively, you might be surprised how many possible donors are out there.

Outside the Box

But do your research, especially if you’re going to think outside of the box. Know the kinds of projects they fund, and what they have funded in the past. You don’t want to approach a funder about supporting your work on providing access to child care tax credits if the funder’s organization has a fundamental opposition to tax increases of any kind.

Even if your plan is as simple as making a list of potential funders and setting up a calendar for meeting and following up with each of them, get it down on paper – but then go do it and stick to it.

Be Patient

Successful fundraising doesn’t happen in a week; you’ve got to cultivate relationships, sometimes for months, sometimes years, before you may see a cent from a potential donor. Stay on it, and don’t get discouraged. Stay on their radar screens and in their faces, and don’t let one no put the brakes on your overall fundraising strategy.

Finally, a good fundraising plan needs to reflect diversity in funding. Unless you’ve got a lock on a long-term funding, you’ll want to throw a wide net when it comes to locating sources of revenue. Don’t try to rely on just one source, no matter how bottomless the well may seem. Look at individuals, corporations, contracts, and grants. Even a funder who’s your biggest fan doesn’t necessarily want to feel like a parent doling out an allowance, so keep your options open.

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About Frank Klimko

Frank Klimko is a nationally known journalist, grants expert and speech writer/speaker. He has years of experience helping nonprofits devise lists of the right funding opportunities and secure funding from these foundations and corporate entities. Clients have focused on an array of areas including child care, homeless, hunger and K-12 education. Additionally, he is a Freedom of Information Act expert, who has helped numerous clients with securing proprietary information from the federal government. Currently, Frank Klimko writes the Children & Youth Funding Report and Private Grants Alert, which are Washington DC-based publications. CYF is a daily publication covering Congress, the Education Dept. and the various federal regulatory agencies. PGA, another daily publication, covers the world of private philanthropy.
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