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To Plan or Not To Plan

By January 12, 2010March 30th, 2014Development, Fundraising

Last week I was surprised that most of the organizations I came into contact with had not yet taken time to create their annual fund development plan for 2010. Lots of “to do” lists were being created but they seemed based on reaction and not on reaching an actual goal.

Whether you take 30 minutes, 3 hours or 3 days, it’s one of the best investments you can make to create the framework for your annual development efforts by drafting a plan.

Some questions to ask to figure out the plan:

  • What is the shortfall in each of our program areas?
  • What is our total goal for fundraising?
  • What methods of fundraising do we have in place that we can count on? i.e. grants, government funding, multi-year pledge payments, etc.
  • What does each fundraising appeal or event need to generate in dollars, new donors, new money and retained donors, to be successful?
  • What communication will support our goals?
  • How will the board be involved in helping reach our goals?

I’ve posted two sample annual fund development plans here on my site to get you started. Use one of these, or combine them and make them better, or use your own framework. Just use something to plan so you can be sure you DO make your goals this year.

A thoughtful read on the topic that I tweeted out recently: It’s a New Year — Do You Need a New #Fundraising Plan?

My goal is to help YOU be successful in raising the dollars you need. Let me know if you have other ideas on how to create an annual development plan that work better for you.

Go forth and multiply!



  • Lori-great info! Thank you! I thought the sample plans were especially helpful! I’m sure you’ve heard the proverb that if you fail to plan then you should plan to fail. It’s so important to review prior year’s data when constructing a plan. Thanks for sharing! Blase

  • I love the proverb, Blase! And good point about reviewing prior year’s data. The post on this site from October 20: Effectively Using YOUR Data has a good list to follow to review data. Thanks for the reminder about reviewing data when creating an annual fund development plan.

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