Having spent my entire career in the nonprofit world, I’m all too well acquainted with the proverbial merry-go-round of fundraising activities that occur throughout the course of the year. The merry-go-round spins more quickly as we approach the finish line of year-end giving. January comes, and then there’s a hard reset; we catch our breath and jump back in again.
Often, fundraising activities or channels (galas, golf tourneys, annual campaigns, etc.) are established annual events, already mapped out on the year. For most nonprofits, baseline measures are compared year-over-year to gauge success. But how often do you stop and reassess your overarching resource development strategy?
Well, this is the perfect time! Year-end is behind us and the merry-go-round of events is comfortably out on the horizon. I want to share with you five steps that can help you build a dynamic and meaningful resource development strategy that can help you maximize the opportunities you have for increased funding.
1. Conduct a Sector Analysis from the past two to three years.
From individuals and foundations to major gifts and corporate support, and maybe even planned giving – how have your funding sources changed? Where have you seen ebbs and flows? Is there a certain sector you’ve wanted to see grow for years but just hasn’t moved?
2. Calculate your Retention.
Keeping a donor is almost always easier than finding a new one! Where has your retention rate trended, and what does that tell you about your engagement and communications activities? These answers may indicate adjustments are needed in stewarding and communicating with funders with adjustments based on sector, giving level, etc.
3. Don’t forget your LYBUNTs and SYBUNTs!
Taking the retention discussion a step further, who simply didn’t give last year, and how long have they been gone? You should always have a running list of lapsed donors and an appropriately tailored plan to regain their support.
4. How did last year’s Resource Development strategy perform?
(You did have a resource development strategy, right?) Were the core strategies and events well executed? Did each team member and board member engage and pull their weight? Did you see the outcomes that you hoped for?
5. Revise and refocus for the new year!
With the perspective gained from these points, you can likely see the ups and downs of last year’s resource development activities. But don’t stop there! What will be different this year? Should your events be adjusted? Was your year-end campaign rushed? Do you need to finally formalize that engagement and communication strategy?
Resource Development and Support at Convergent Nonprofit Solution
More than likely, the areas you want to improve on will be clear to you, but developing the strategies and adjusting the tactics to make this year different can be a daunting task, and let’s face it, you’ve got an organization to run!
At Convergent, in addition to managing capital campaigns, we help nonprofits assess and rebuild their resource development strategies. Our fundraising experts ensure nonprofit teams have the best strategies and the necessary implementation guidance. And we work across a broad array of organizations. So whether you need to lay a foundation for a strong capital campaign in the future or just need a makeover for your Resource Development strategies, please contact us today to see how we can help!
Convergent Nonprofit Solutions, LLC is a national fundraising consulting firm that specializes in managing feasibility studies and capital campaigns for chambers, economic development organizations, community colleges, and other nonprofits.