To grow your nonprofit’s fundraising efforts and connect with supporters, your organization probably plans a variety of fundraising and marketing campaigns throughout the year. Strategic planning allows you to consolidate these efforts into an intentional, organized plan to keep your team on the same page.
You might be creating a strategic plan to guide your organization in the year ahead, or you might craft one specifically for a major fundraising initiative, such as a capital campaign. In this guide, we’ll review six essential elements to include in any strategic plan:
Developing a strategic plan gives your organization a clear roadmap for fundraising and marketing success, no matter the road ahead. It’s important to make your plan detailed and robust, but still keep it flexible to adapt to changing circumstances throughout the course of the year or your campaign.
Your strategic planning process should begin with an assessment of your organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, otherwise known as a SWOT analysis. Let’s take a closer look at each element of this examination:
By following the SWOT analysis process, you can start your strategic planning with more clarity on your nonprofit’s current situation and potential opportunities. This can give you a leg up when determining your strategic planning priorities and goals.
The next stage of the strategic planning process is to set goals based on the priorities and opportunities you identified in your SWOT analysis.
Your goals should be SMART:
Your goals will help give your team something to strive for and allow you to measure progress as you go. You can set a variety of goals during the strategic planning process, including goals for fundraising, donor engagement, and marketing.
A case for support is a document that presents compelling justifications for why supporters should give to your nonprofit and how their gifts will help meet urgent needs. A compelling case for support will help your nonprofit attract passionate supporters, raise more, and energize your staff by giving them a clear mission to rally around.
As you draft your case for support, make sure it includes:
Download our webinar on writing an effective case for support to help manage this stage of the strategic planning process. This resource walks through other critical elements to include in your case for support, how to design the document, and more.
If you’re creating a strategic plan for a capital campaign, this will be the step where you complete a planning and feasibility study. If you’re creating a general strategic plan for the year, it’s still important to gather insight from and engage top stakeholders and supporters, such as major donors, board members, volunteers, community leaders, and other invested individuals.
Hold conversations with these stakeholders and ask them to provide feedback on everything from your goals and case for support to potential fundraising campaigns you’re thinking of launching.
Review your findings with your team to start developing your plan. Also, be sure to thank supporters for providing feedback and tell them specifically how you plan to incorporate their input into your planning process. This helps close the loop and show supporters that you are actively listening to their concerns.
Once you’ve compiled stakeholder feedback and finalized your plan, it’s time to start putting your fundraising campaign into action. Define the who, where, when, why, and how of your plan by describing the steps you’ll take to accomplish your goals.
Follow these tips to set your plan in motion:
These steps will help you turn your goals into a reality. Keep your strategies flexible throughout the year to adjust to any new opportunities or challenges that arise.
Giving your strategy a clear timeline keeps your organization on track throughout the year or throughout your campaign.
Your timeline should include:
Make sure to include a few opportunities throughout the year to thank your nonprofit’s staff for all of their hard work. You can spotlight different team members during meetings and describe their accomplishments in helping achieve your goals.
If your organization needs assistance at any stage of the strategic planning process, don’t hesitate to reach out to a fundraising consultant. These professionals can provide expertise and guidance at any stage of the process, from gathering stakeholder input to recommending fundraising strategies.
Plus, it’s also important to enlist trusted advisors and technology partners when it comes to technology. Technology partners can help empower your organization with the fundraising and marketing tools you need to carry out your strategic plan. Onward and upward!