Criteria for Success
These are the fundamental criteria that should guide everything an organization does in preparing for and implementing a successful fundraising endeavor.
A Case for Support that is Realistic, Relevant and Compelling
The strongest projects are reinforced by facts and have urgency, significance and appeal. An effective Case for Support is specific in scope and will clearly communicate the purpose, programs and financial needs of the organization. It will explain why the organization is conducting the fundraising effort and will demonstrate potential benefits to the majority, if not all, of the stakeholders.
Assessments to Gauge Readiness (Internally and Externally)
Sound planning will 1) evaluate the organization’s capacity to undertake the fundraising endeavor and 2) test the project among prospective donors to ascertain interest, capacity and likely support as well as identify potentially competing fundraising efforts. Good assessments will ultimately help strengthen and align the project goals with those of potential investors.
Commitment from Leadership (Organizational and Community)
Prior to asking others to give or volunteer, the organization’s Board must demonstrate its own commitment. This will set the tone and create the example others will follow. Organizations must also be able to solicit and recruit leaders in the community who are both affluential and influential – and willing to share their time, talent and treasure for the benefit of the project.
Prospective Donor Development
Organizations must develop a prospective funding base sufficient to support its fundraising goal. Identification, research, appraisal and prioritization of prospective donors are critical first steps in developing the plans to cultivate, solicit and steward those who will position the project for success.
Implementation of Strategy
When staff and volunteers put plans into action, they should also hold themselves accountable. Well-defined roles and responsibilities, a detailed timeline of activities, consistent monitoring of progress and clear communication will help maintain focus and momentum during the entire fundraising effort.
Thoughtful stewardship plays an important role in ongoing fundraising success. More than just setting clear standards for acknowledgement and reporting, ensuring your donors and volunteers have a good giving experience means personalizing relationships. Caring for your donors and volunteers will ultimately increase their commitment to the organization.