pexels-photo-1282267To create an impact, your nonprofit will need one or more reliable sources of funding. Setting your targets and reaching them, is a task that’s much easier to achieve when you have a well thought out plan. Use the following steps to help your NFP create a comprehensive strategy to raise the funds that you need to promote sustainable growth.

Appoint a Coordinator

Before you begin the planning phase, your nonprofit will need to designate someone to lead the process. While many smaller NFPs simply leave all the planning up to their treasurer, organisations often benefit by appointing a fundraising coordinator to oversee the creation of their fundraising strategy. A coordinator works as a liaison with the members of your fundraising committee, staff, volunteers, allied third parties, and others organising planning activities, and helping everyone to stay focused and on track as you decide on your overall strategy and implement fundraising activities throughout the year.

Identify Your Fundraising Goals for the Year

Look at your budget to get a good idea of how much money your nonprofit will need to fund overhead and activities while investing in projects that will build capacity and lead to sustainable growth. When setting your fundraising targets, you want to set goals that are realistic, measurable and achievable, but that are still ambitious enough to encourage your team to stretch past their comfort zone and look for new ways to boost the results.

Determine Your Sources of Funding

There are several ways that nonprofits can gain the funds that they need. The most successful NFPs usually target multiple sources of funding. For example, your nonprofit could seek sponsorships and community partnerships with third parties to provide materials, services or other resources that it needs to serve its members. You could also host fundraising drives and ask individuals and businesses for direct donations of cash, or host special fundraising events, such as festivals where you charge entry fees and/or sell concessions or charge a percentage of the proceeds in the case of an auction.

Your NFP could also use crowdfunding platforms to attract the attention of large numbers of people to give smaller amounts. Federal and state governments are a significant source of grant funding, as are corporate and private foundations. Some nonprofits fund their activities by selling products and services in a retail setting. NFPs can also sell their expertise via consulting or offering courses and training. You can even charge a rental fee to others that wish to use your facilities when not in use by your NFP.

Host a brainstorming session with your fundraising committee and consider all the ways that your NFP can make money. When you meet, look back on your past fundraising campaigns. Which worked best to raise the funds that you need? Which has been genuinely profitable regarding the time and effort that is involved? Does each allow you to focus on your core mission?

As you continue to discuss funding activities, decide which will be in your nonprofit’s best interest to pursue. From there, develop a timeline and comprehensive plan for each activity. For example, if you will seek grants, determine how many you will attempt to win, and what you will need for each application to be completed on time and in a way that portrays your NFP in the best possible light. If you are going to hold fundraising drives, decide on how many you will conduct for the year.

Lay the framework for how each one will be held, determine the best times of the year to seek donations, and schedule your drives on your fundraising calendar. Make a list of everything that will be needed for each event and drive, setting a budget for each event and designating leaders to oversee and coordinate each activity. As part of your planning, set benchmarks and determine which tools you will use to measure your progress and performance to make it easier to reach your targets.

Check Your Processes

Before you begin to implement your fundraising activities, take the time to run through your systems and processes to make sure that your organisation is ready to perform the necessary functions to support your fundraising drives. Update your website, especially your donations page and check your payment processing system to make sure that it is ready to handle the increased attention so that everything runs smoothly.

Implement Your Plans

Once you have created your strategy for each activity, it’s time to put your plans into motion. As each fundraising activity unfolds, don’t forget to review your progress and use metrics and other tools to help you measure and improve your performance.

Review Your Strategy

As the year ends, look back on what you have accomplished. Reflect on what parts of your strategy worked well, and, determine what things you can change about your approach, and plans to improve your performance for the upcoming year. Even if you hit all your targets and didn’t face any unforeseen challenges, it’s likely that you will identify new ways to fund your nonprofit, or actions that you can change or tweak to make the fundraising process more efficient and effective.

Show Your Gratitude

Finally, don’t forget to thank everyone involved in both your planning process, as well as the actual hosting of fundraising events. Thank all of your donors and other contributors, as well as everyone involved in your fundraising activities, including third-party allies that assisted your nonprofit with funding and other resources.