Writing your resource development plan in steps: Step Four

planningWelcome to the fourth part of this ongoing series of posts on how to write your non-profit organization’s annual resource development plan. As I’ve previously mentioned, this series was inspired by how many DonorDreams blog readers were clicking on the “Time to start writing your 2015 resource development plan” post, which I wrote a year ago.

The first post in this series was titled “Writing your resource development plan in steps: Step One,” and it focused exclusively on the importance of putting the right people at the table. The second post was “Writing your resource development plan in steps: Step Two,” and addressed pre-planning activities such as evaluation and assessment. The last post — “Writing your resource development plan in steps: Step Three” — walked readers through writing a statement of fundraising purpose as well as developing both financial and non-financial goals.

Today’s post is all about the next step, which of course is about developing strategies and tactics. Enjoy!

In the previous post in this series, we talked about two different types of goals — financial goals and process goals. We will mirror that approach in today’s post in order to keep things clear.

Strategies for financial goals

checklistIdentify all of the fundraising campaigns, events, and activities you plan on doing in the upcoming year. Here are a few examples: golf outing, gala dinner & auction, direct mail, major gifts initiative, annual campaign, grant writing, etc.

For each of your events, campaigns and activities, create a worksheet that includes the following:

  • Annual goal
  • Description of leadership needs
  • Preliminary prospect list of volunteers
  • Number of donor prospects needed
  • Rough draft expense budget (if applicable)
  • Objectives that are essential to reaching the financial goal (e.g. securing five new sponsors, securing 20 new pledges, selling three new tables, securing $XXXX from the fund-a-need auction strategy, etc)
  • List of critical tasks and deadlines (e.g. first planning meeting date, signing golf course contract, recruiting key volunteer leaders, starting board campaign solicitations, completing sponsorship solicitations, taking the program book to the printer, etc)
  • Calculations at the bottom of each worksheet for total net revenue and expenses as a percentage of projected revenue (include the estimated cost of staff time)

I also suggested you include individualized range of gifts charts (ROG chart) for each of your events and campaigns (of course you wouldn’t do this for your grant writing worksheets). Our friends at Blackbaud have a nice online ROG chart calculator; however, it is sometimes better to work it out on paper in which case there is a very nice set of written instructions on how to do this over at about.com.

From a process perspective, it is important to enlist help from your committee volunteers (and possibly other volunteers who are more involved in your events and campaigns) in completing these worksheets.

Remember what we talked about in the first post of this blog series . . . “S/he who writes the plan, owns the plan. And s/he who owns the plan is the only person who will care enough to implement the plan.”

When everyone is done with their respective worksheets, ask the entire committee to review and discuss. Depending on the level of feedback, there may be additional changes to be made.

The information from each of these worksheets is copy/paste into the written resource development plan on the pages set aside for each respective event, campaign or activity.

When the time comes to start planning for an event or campaign, it makes sense to share the appropriate section of the resource development plan with the event/campaign planning committee. It will give them a starting point. In fact, you may want to share this information with volunteer prospects during recruitment meetings to help frame expectations and provide clarity around what you’re asking them to help you undertake.

After this exercise, you may need to revisit the trends/goals chart you created as part of the previous blog post and make revisions.

Strategies for non-financial goals

strategic planning implementationAs you recall from the previous post, there is a section of the resource development plan that includes process goals. These non-financial goals could focus on: new prospect acquisition; cultivation activities; donor retention & stewardship; marketing and donor communication; board member engagement; and evaluation and monitoring.

I’ve seen these sections get large and complicated. I suggest keeping it simple.

After working with your volunteers on identifying three to five process goals, staff should roll up their sleeves and re-write each goal using SMART goal verbiage. After this is accomplished, simply re-engage your volunteers in answering these simple questions for each goal:

  • What do we need to do to accomplish this goal?
  • Who needs to be involved?
  • When does each task need to be accomplished?

Take the answers to these questions, re-word them into succinct bullet points and include them under each goal.

Develop a comprehensive resource development calendar

Your organization has limited resources, which is why it’s important to create a comprehensive resource development calendar. The following is a simple example to help get you started:

RD calendar

I suggest doing this activity as a group. Make sure to include pre-activity planning time and post-activity evaluation/assessment time in your calendar.

If you end up with too many things happening in one month, then you might want to tweak your plans to avoid headaches and problems.

Well, congratulations! If you’ve done everything in all four of the blog posts in this series and massaged it together in one document, then you have a draft plan in hand. Not only was it fairly simple, but it engaged volunteers in the process, which hopefully means you’re not in this thing alone.  🙂

There are a few odds and ends that I’d like to speak to with regard to this process, and I plan on doing so in the final blog post in this series next week. Stay tuned!

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC

About DonorDreams

Erik got his start working in the non-profit field immediately upon graduation with his masters degree in 1994. His non-profit management and fundraising experience numbers nearly 20 years. His teachable point of view around resource development is influenced by the work of Penelope Burk and those professionals subscribing to a "donor centered" paradigm. Donors have dreams and it is our responsibility to be dream-makers because donors are not ATMs.

Posted on October 29, 2015, in nonprofit, Planning, resource development and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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