Having a detailed and a strategic plan before starting your fundraising efforts is probably the best advise anyone who has had experience in this field will give to the nonprofits. Planning out every activity gives you and your team a sense of direction and a goal to keep aiming for. More often than not, the success of your crowdfunding efforts depends on your initial strategy. The best thing that can come out of detailed planning is that you get to learn from the past. As each year goes by, you will better understand the nuances of the philanthropic world, as well as the fast-growing method of online crowdfunding in India.
The best crowdfunding plans should have answers to every possible question that a potential donor may have, from the NGOs, before contributing to the cause.
This article offers a six-step fundraising strategy and planning process for anybody who is beginning fundraising efforts for their NGOs –
Step 1: Analyze past figures
Learn from your mistakes. This is a key suggestion for any kind of organization. Put together your income and expenses from the previous year to know your spending pattern. Analyze where you can cut down costs and where you need to dedicate more time and resources. Evaluate the sources that brought in money, and the sources that didn’t. A good way to do this is to make a chart of the previous year, and then consequently make one for the year to follow. This step will help give you more accurate projections for income and expenditure in the next year. It should include all costs associated with advertising, campaigns, overheads, travel, food, staff payments, and every other cost related to your NGO or nonprofit.
Step 2: Have a mission
In simpler terms, determine the philosophy of your organization. Your annual fundraising campaign should begin with giving details about your background, your team, your vision, your goals, and most importantly – your current efforts. It is necessary to have a firm positioning about these details from the very beginning, because it may reflect instability and unreliability if you change your vision and mission in the middle of your crowdfunding campaign. It would be good to include some noteworthy achievements from the previous year as well, as it helps to create goodwill for your nonprofit initiative.
Step 3: Gather your resources
Your online fundraising resources are all the assets (fixed, variable, tangible, intangible) that make your crowdfunding campaign successful. This includes people, money, materials, and equipment. Assign a tangible value to each of these resources. This step is also important when it comes to budgeting your expenses for the year.
Another vital part of your resources is your team. Be sure to put together a strong team of like-minded individuals, with the same ideals and goals for the NGO. Having said that, it might be beneficial to have a mixed bag of people with different professional and lifestyle backgrounds, as they will be able to bring in a lot of varied ideas and insights owing to different experiences. Ensure that each member has a specific skillset that will be used to further your cause, such as, strategy, communication, accounting, social media, etc.
Step 4: Budgeting
The first step of this annual fundraising strategy was to put together the numbers and figures from the past year and analyze them. We suggested making a chart for the same. Assuming you have all your information together, that chart will tell you so much about from where did your income come in the most, where do your heaviest expenses lie, where you can cut down costs, which departments need more attention, which resources are most valuable to you. Your analysis should include the following costs:
- Staff payments
- Overheads (rent, electricity, etc.)
- Cost of communications (includes designing, printing, stationary)
- Food and travel
- Other miscellaneous expenses
This way you will be able to make an accurate estimation of your income and expenditure in the following year.
Step 5: Set up a network
Taking previous years into consideration, analyze the sources from where most of the income is being generated. This will help you with segmenting the market, and knowing exactly where your donor base is. When you have a fixed target market, you can direct your cost of advertising, campaigning, and communication efforts towards them. For instance, if most contributions are coming in from CSR activities by big business, then that’s where your audience lies. You can even consider combining your online fundraising efforts with offline engagement events, which will grow your network of donors and open up more options for future collaborations.
Step 6: Set goals and timeframes
Each year, your fundraising campaign should have a new goal. The most common goals include the following:
- Expanding operations to other parts of the city or country
- Acquiring new donors with a fresh fundraising strategy
- Engaging your current donors in fundraising activities
There are two ways of setting these goals. You can either have one goal for the entire year, and direct all your efforts and resources towards achieving it, or you can give a fixed time frame to each of these goals by distributing it throughout the year. For instance, the first six months can be dedicated to expanding operations, the next quarter will be dedicated to acquiring new donors, and the last three months will be occupied with engagement activities for current donors.
Having a rough idea of what you want to achieve in the year to follow is not enough information to go by, and this will become glaringly obvious, the more often you start making strategies for your mission.
It is not an easy task to plan your fundraising strategy with such great detail. But once you’ve done it, you will find that it has the potential to make your job so much easier. We also suggest some amount of transparency with your crowdfunding team, so that everyone in the organization is up-to-date with the current status, as well as with future goals.
So here it is, we hope this six-step guide helps you better plan your crowdfunding activities for the next year!