Sure as the sun rises, the end of one calendar year brings the time for planning for the upcoming year. Every fundraiser reading this blog has this prime opportunity to create your 2015 fundraising game plan. But...
Will your plan provide the foundation for fundraising success?
What should be the key pillars of your plan?
Will your staff and board buy into the plan?
Luckily, if you are struggling with the three questions above, there are five excellent sources of wisdom and guidance you can easily turn to!
1) "Great Fundraising"
The first must-read is an outstanding research project conducted by Dr. Adrian Sargeant and Dr. Jen Shang entitled “Great Fundraising,” which was commissioned by Clayton Burnett Limited to answer the question: "What Makes Fundraising Truly Great?"
I was able to view Dr. Sargeant's presentation of his findings at the recent AFP International Leadership Conference. One of the opening slides defines what greatness in fundraising looks like, and what you should strive for in your 2015 planning:
Double, triple or even quadruple growth in fundraising income certainly seems like an ideal place to begin any plan. Transforming the organization and how the mission is accomplished allows such revenue growth to be utilized fully.
Strong Leadership is Critical
The report focused in on the challenges each of the outstanding organizations faced and more importantly how they overcame them. Not surprisingly, strong leadership was critical in overcoming the challenges.
The definition of strong leadership was based upon a combination of personal will and personal humility. The slide below further defines those two key qualities.
Team, Structure and Culture
Another key finding of the research was an outline of the time, devotion and strategy required to building an exceptional team, structure and culture. A healthy culture is a requirement for recruiting and retaining an exceptional team, who will help create and utilize the structure required for success. The research report also explores the methods by which decisions should be made. The various theories are explored in detail and are well worth reading and noting in your 2015 plan.
Perhaps this summary slide from Adrian’s presentation sums up best what your 2015 goals should be:
This report should help you prepare your 2015 philosophy and goals. The following resources will help your 2015 tactics:
2) 2014 Millennial Impact Report
The 2014 Millennial Impact Report from Achieve provides research, examples, and takeaways for companies looking to inspire and connect with the next generation workforce. Though the report does not focus on donation and volunteerism trends as the last four reports have, it does offer insights into what millennials look for in the programs and initiatives that companies execute to help people communities.
Don't miss this report if you rely on cause marketing for any of your fundraising dollars. Understanding millennials now is the key to long-term fundraising success!
3) Individual Thought-Leadership
There is a wealth of (free!) information out on the web for fundraisers looking to hone their day-to-day activities.
Just look at the list of recommended blogs to the left of this post and the list of authors to the right. Each one offers (almost) daily tips, tricks, case studies, stories and inspiration for fundraisers of all shapes and sizes. And that's just one blog! For more blogs, peruse this list of 40 (+15 or so more) fundraising blogs you should be reading in 2015.
If you wanted to, you could probably attend a free webinar every single day of the week. 4Good, for example, offers daily (free) webinars, and The Fundraising Summit offers five days of (free) online presentations starting in early January.
Finally, by just following any one of thousands of nonprofit experts on social media, you'll gain access to and glean knowledge from top thinkers in our field.
This free thought-leadership is out there, you just have to take it!
4) 2014 Million Dollar Donors Report
The 2014 Million Dollar Donors Report report, released in November, analyzes the number, size and recipients of gifts of $1 million or more given by individuals, foundations and corporations in the United States, United Kingdom, Russia, Middle East (Gulf Cooperation Council), China, Hong Kong and for the first time, Singapore. It was compiled by Coutts in association with the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, and is a wonderful resource for those seeking major gifts of any size.
Events are also great sources of information, but they can be costly and difficult to get to (not to mention the time lost in productivity due to travel).
That's where BloomCon comes in, a virtual conference featuring Dr. Adrian Sargeant, as well as renowned donor communications guru Tom Ahern and the highly respected digital communications expert Kivi Leroux Miller together for the first time ever!
Each of them will be providing solid fundraising theory and tips crucial for every 2015 fundraising plan. It could not happen at a better time for your plan's fine-tuning!
With these resources in hand, your 2015 fundraising game plan can spring to life. More importantly, they can position you and your organization for new heights of fundraising success!
The preceding is a guest post by Jay Love, Co-Founder and CEO of Bloomerang, which helps nonprofit organizations to reach, engage, and retain the advocates they depend on to achieve their vision for a better world. A veteran of the nonprofit technology sector, Jay is a founding member of the AFP Business Member Council and chair of the AFP Ethics Committee.