The Resource Development Plan: Your Key to Fundraising Success

Katie LordKatie Lord, Vice President

We can all agree that fundraising is key to the success of a nonprofit organization. But you can’t fundraise effectively until you know what you are working toward and how you are going to get there. Enter the resource development plan – this is your organization’s roadmap to fundraising success and, when done right, can guarantee you reach your goals.

The AFP defines a resource development plan as “a tool that helps your staff and board set realistic income goals with respect to your budgeting process. The plan outlines the strategic steps required to reach those goals, as well as board and staff responsibilities in accomplishing the plan.” Reaching your fundraising goals is a collaborative process, so ensure that both your staff and board members are involved in writing the plan.

There are 3 keys to a good resource development plan:

  1. Diversity in revenue streams
  2. Timeline of goals and benchmarks
  3. Measurement and course correction

If you have always relied on one or two traditional fundraising techniques, consider diversifying your approach.  The more diverse your revenue streams, the easier it will be to reach your ultimate goal. The essential revenue streams in a resource development plan are annual fund/membership, board giving, grants, corporate/special events, planned giving and major gifts. A robust fundraising department utilizes all of these strategies to get where they’re going.

But let’s get down to the nitty gritty – building your plan. Approach each revenue stream in three parts:

Part I: Goals and Tactics

This is the HOW. Set a specific, measurable goal ($$) and determine how you will get there. For example, tactics for reaching your annual fund goal may be laid out in your vehicles of solicitation. Will you use email, phone calls, in-person visits or direct mail? Get even more specific and rate your prospects by solicitation type. The more you break down your goals into manageable pieces, the easier it is to evaluate and course correct over time.

Part II: Calendar and Due Dates

Now that you’ve determined the how, you need to know when. Establish clear deadlines and check in points for each step in your plan to reach your goal. For example, in a direct mailing, establish clear dates for pulling and review your donor list, writing and approving the mail piece, date of the mailing to be dropped and when to begin follow up calls. Clear, established deadlines lay the foundation for execution and accountability.

Part III: Roles/Responsibilities & Measurement

You know the how, the when….now who? Responsible parties for each task must be written into your plan. Since your staff and board/volunteers are already helping you write this plan, they should have direct input into this component. Lastly, ensure you have a timeline in place to measure progress. Establish projections and meet regularly to discuss progress and course correction.

Congratulations! You have a plan in place that clearly defines who, what and when. Ensure your plan is easy to digest, shareable and flexible. If your staff and volunteers are on board, there is no limit to what you can achieve.

Want more tips on putting together the perfect development plan? Katie would love to hear from you – get in touch at klord@fundraisingjba.com or at 816.237.1999. 

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