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Purpose of a Creating Development Strategy Plan


With the participation of the CEO and Board, the following outline can serve as a guide for development initiatives through a fundraising strategy plan time horizon. The plan anticipates reassessment, revision, and updating after the first year of operation and on an annual basis thereafter. This plan would support organization’s efforts to improve its organizational infrastructure, re-examine its goals, and deploy an expanded fundraising strategy to fulfill its mission and assure sustainability into the future. 


Fundraising Plan Audit

Organization’s current programs should be examined to evaluate effectiveness (are they still raising money?), efficiency (is the cost per dollar raised where it should be?), and energy (are staff, Board, Officers, volunteers available in sufficient numbers and expertise, remaining committed and energetic?). 


Financial Results 

Assessment should be made of the organization’s traditional fundraising approaches as meeting its goals and sustaining its mission.



What do the numbers mean? Which are the most effective approaches? Which need work? Which should be retired?


Infrastructure, Data Collection, and Accessibility

What data exists of the past and current fundraising which tracks donor identification, cultivation, solicitation, amounts, dates, contacts and stewardship? Is it in easily usable form? What new platforms need to be put in place?


Brief History 

The organization’s website describes its historical origins. The organization’s history should be edited to include successes and outcomes from and be tied directly to previous donor support and why donor prospects can be confident that new or additional philanthropic investments will carry forward this history of success and enable mission sustainability.



The organization’s website describes its mission. The organization’s fundraising development program should focus on and support the organization’s strategic priorities.  These strategic priorities should be clearly linked to the ‘how’ and ‘why’ donor philanthropic investments are important to building positive donor and community relationships and bringing about important impacts throughout the local, national and general community and sustaining the organization’s good works.


Unique Value Proposition 

The organization should develop a value proposition or expand upon its mission statement as the way to distinguish itself from every other organization and as both the lead argument and as the answer to why current donors should continue support and why new donor prospects should be interested in making a philanthropic investment.


Strategic Priorities 

The organization should create a list, typically in bulleted or numbered format, of its major priorities, internally and externally, and clearly link those priorities to the financial support being sought, as well as, to the goals and objectives for which raising money may not be the principle purpose. 


Roles and Responsibilities in the Fundraising Development Program 

A common description of the roles and responsibilities involved in a fundraising development program includes these components:  

  • The development program involves raising funds and the approaches used

  • Developing relationships and connecting people with a passion for or whose passion can be focused to the organization’s cause and mission

  • Defining board member and officer fundraising and donor stewardship duties

  • Identifying the organization’s  “connectors” or “friends”-- those who make introductions and tie together the organization with donors and donor prospects 

  • “Experts” being who speak knowledgeably and passionately about the organization’s mission

  • Closers being those who ask for financial support


Performing a Strengths/Weaknesses/Opportunities/Threats (SWOT) Analysis 

This is an organizational exercise designed to sustain the organization’s competitive position and/or uniqueness as it competes for funding in the highly competitive nonprofit community

  • Strengths (factors internal to the organization)

  • Weaknesses (factors internal to the organization)

  • Opportunities (factors external to the organization)

  • Threats (factors external to the organization)

 Philanthropic Visions Fundraising Plan Strategy Components (continued)



Establishing Development Priorities

Examples of such priorities include and to be developed in conjunction with the infrastructure program: 

  • Implement best practices 

Efficient and effective involvement of Board and volunteers 

Appropriate tools and resources (e.g. data organization/collection/access)

  • Initial immediate major gift and planned gift solicitation strategy

  • Gifting vehicles

  • Gift acceptance policies 

  • Long term and stable funding strategy 

Perpetual: Endowment supported by current and deferred giving

Diversified: includes major giving, planned giving, reliable annual giving 

Expanded: upgrade current donors and acquire new ones 

  • Uniform and clear marketing message 

Redesign/editing of promotional materials, website 

Presence of mind presence in the community 


Key constituents 

Who are your major audiences, markets, and current/past/prospective donors? Examples are: individual Board members, Board Member networks, Fellows, individual donors, volunteers, government, sponsors, foundations


Fundraising Tactics

What are the fundraising approaches and vehicles? Examples are: 

  • Annual giving (e.g. events, direct mail)

  • Website (updating content and “giving” pages)

  • Major gifts (defining the major gift amount)

  • Planned giving (including immediate cash and deferred techniques)

  • Corporate Giving 

  • Foundation/Grants 

  • In-kind contributions and non-traditional revenue 



Short-term (12 months, month by month tasks)

Mid-term (next year) 

Long-term (year after that) 


Financial Projections 

     Budget projections for the first year

     Periodic review and updating


Additional Resources Needed

Additional staff, budget, etc. that may be needed to implement the Plan.

Strategy Plan Components

Whether your nonprofit organization is small, medium or large, every fundraising plan requires thoughtful consideration of each of these components...

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