How can you get your fundraising plan from Point A (need money) to Point B (have money) in a straight line?

Perviously we shared the first post of a three part series: the 7 Roadblocks to Strategic Fundraising. It’s clear that those responsible for nonprofit development can experience fundraising fatigue and want to start applying more strategy to their “cow selection.” For this post, Christy Bergman sat down with Ali Brieske to talk about how you can streamline your path from Point A (need money) to Point B (have money).

Christy: Yes, indeed! It is the challenge we all face in fundraising—how to get rid of long-held events, or beliefs about what works, and direct resources elsewhere. Even those who are new to the game struggle to avoid the pitfalls of the “raising awareness” fundraising event, the volunteer bake sales, or the gift tied to more restrictions than links to the mission. But the benefits of truly assessing and narrowing fundraising efforts will pay dividends.

Ali: So how do you do this?

Christy: Let’s take this in steps:

  1. Start with a clear strategic vision for the organization, with defined priorities and needs. This comes from strategic planning at the leadership level.
  1. Create evaluation tools. This includes a customized strategy screen (those go, no go criteria) for fundraising activities, events and new ideas, as well as a Return on Investment (ROI) calculator to assess your efficacy and efficiency. Considerations might include your organization’s stance on restricted vs. unrestricted funding, a threshold amount for administration allowances, the ability to advance very specific priorities, etc. What new and innovative ways can you meet your financing goals with lower cost and higher ROI?
  1. Get comfortable with discomfort. It is, understandably, hard to stomach an initial downward trend in contributed revenue when you cut long-time fundraising or events or say no to a grant. Everyone will have to think long-term. Give your new strategy time to stick.
  1. Get the right people on the bus. If you’re changing your focus to major donors from grants, for example, what new strengths and experiences do you need on your team of staff, board and volunteers?
  1. Work with your donors to develop your programs versus developing your programs or services in deference to donors.

Ali: Thanks, Christy. I expect this will be discussed in more detail at JVA’s Development Intensive (DI)?

Christy: Yes. And even better, at DI you get to hear from others in the field, in the community and on the ground right now raising money is this ever-changing environment. We’ll work together to think through the best solutions and possible strategies for your own fundraising needs.

NOTE: This blog was originally published in 2016 and is Part 2 of a three-part series (see Part 1 and Part 3) featuring former JVA team members Ali Brieske and Christy Bergman.