So, what should feature in a fundraising strategy (updated)
If you are thinking about putting together a fundraising strategy for the first time, or you’re in the process of doing so, there are some things you will need to think about.
Successful fundraising starts with a fundraising strategy which, in short, should serve to identify what resources will be required in order to reach a fundraising goal; although a fundraising strategy does not necessarily have to focus on just raising money, but could also help you to meet your other charitable aims.
Through the OCS project, we have found that a lot of charities do not actually have clear fundraising plans, and are not clear what a fundraising strategy looks like – so if you are thinking about putting together a strategy for the first time, or you’re in the process of doing so, there are some things you will need to think about.
The three main elements of a fundraising strategy, like many other strategies, are:
- Where are we now?
- Where do we want to get to?
- How are we going to get there?
So, firstly, you’ll need to outline the main aims and objectives of your project – or your project’s mission statement. This might include details on why you are raising the money, as well as the kinds of work your organisation has been doing. Think about what is happening in the wider world outside your organisation – factors like the current economic situation may have a direct effect on how much you can raise! A useful tool for this is called a STEEPLE Analysis – you can watch our short 5-minute video.
Once you have looked at the external factors, you should then looks at what the ‘market is doing, for example, if local companies aren’t making profits, then basing your fundraising on generating income from business may be a challenge. What resources do you have available internally – if you have your office staffed by one volunteers, then perhaps it is unrealistic to plan a fundraising appeal to lots and lots of individual donors – who would deal with the donations, bank and thank? Pulling this all together, A SWOT analysis is useful in identifying possible Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats to your project.
Then you need to think of where do you want to be? So, for example, would raising £15,000 to fund an office move solve your problems, or do you need revenue funding which will enable you to cover your core costs for the next few years? Once you have decided where you want to be, and what you want to achieve, then you can start to build the strategy for how to get there…
It is vital therefore to spend time to research possible sources for funding, whether it’s through approaching corporates for support, or targeting major donors, for example.
Another area to consider are the extra resources you will need in order to fulfil your plan, such as extra volunteers, or training.
As you work at fulfilling your strategy, it is important to constantly monitor your progression so that you can measure your success, and put into place further steps, if necessary, if the plan does not quite turn out as predicted.