Expect Revenue Cycles To Overlap

The end-of-year push concludes, your organization’s fundraising team is exhausted, and it’s already time to get next year’s fundraising cycle in motion.

Sound familiar?

It’s the repetition of fundraising and, unlike riding a bicycle, trends and evolving donor preferences mean that fundraising cycles aren’t necessarily easier each time you complete one.

    During his presentation, “Getting to Goal: The Annual Development Plan” at Fundraising Day in New York 2017, John W. Hicks, CFRE, principal at DLBHICKS LLC, discussed the elements and strategies that go into a quality development plan. Topics discussed included:

  • Evaluate your fundraising mix. This analysis comes in two parts: Where the organization has its best reach now and where there are opportunities to grow. The goal should be finding streams that offer the best possible return for necessary time, energy, and financial resources;
  • Figure out what donor markets make the most sense. What populations will be most receptive to your organization’s cause? Where does your organization have access through board, staff, funders, and friends;
  • Choose the right campaign activities. Events and direct response campaigns are often on the more expensive, time-consuming side. Social media, meetings, and visits are generally less costly and time consuming;
  • Start off with the resources already at your disposal. Assess your talent, educate, and train. Consider outsourcing or insourcing to help bridge gaps. Only add resources if they will improve experience, expertise, or efficiency;
  • Create an action plan. Lay out the work to be done in a 12-month grid, but don’t try to initiate it all at once. Use the grid to set priorities and assess progress. Also set and monitor metrics such as benchmarks and goals by category — including donors acquired, staff competencies, and visits or calls completed; and,
  • Be realistic with your goals. Start with your current fundraising streams and add on. Fundraising goals should be slightly aggressive, but projections should be on the conservative side.