Fundraising Strategy - the nuts, the bolts and what works!

Fundraising Objects

Written by Mandi Hine, Community Manager at Fundraising Everywhere.

For May’s exclusive Members Clinic we were joined by the always amazing Richard Sved. He gave us a whistle stop tour of the book he has co-authored with Dr Claire Routley - Fundraising Strategy.

Your strategy in 10 questions

The book (and Richard’s session) is very helpfully broken down into 10 questions (chapters) for working through your Fundraising Strategy. There is no set order when drafting a Fundraising Strategy, although the book is arranged in what Richard and Claire feel is the order that's most logical.

Most importantly, your fundraising shouldn’t ever stop just because you are taking time to think strategically about it!

5 important things to consider when writing your strategy

1. Set your objectives

  • Where are you now?
  • Where do you want to get to?
  • How are you going to get there?

2. Audience

  • Identify the most appropriate audiences - come up with a “persona” (or personas) for your most active or desired audience.
  • How and when do they give?
  • Why have they chosen you?

3. Style and content

  • Consider the most appropriate messages to communicate to those audiences by looking at
    • Tone 
    • Brand 
    • Case for support

4. Tactics

  • What tactics are you using currently?
  • Which streams have worked for you before?
  • Will these continue to work in the future?
  • Don’t forget to look at your donor experience

5. Analysis

  • How do you monitor and control your fundraising performance and risk?
  • How will you know if something has gone well or not worked out?
  • Have you got a contingency plan?

But why do I need a Strategy?

In short, taking the time to plan ensures that, rather than diving straight into your fundraising with a few ideas around current trends or hunches about what might work, you will have carefully thought through the actions you’re going to take. 

How can I avoid strategic wear-out?

  • Encourage
    • Diversity in culture, skills and perspectives
    • Innovation - disincentivise behaviours that suppress it
  • Generate a flow of information on the external environment and share it with key people internally
  • Benchmark against the wider industry; 
  • Invest in market research to spot developing trends
  • Monitor and control your strategies robustly
  • Know that strategy development is an evolving process!

Importantly, remember, in the words of Wayne Murray -

“Your strategy isn't a document. It’s a set of mutually agreed decisions, created by all and owned by all. The document is just the receipt.”

Wayne Murray, Human Focused Strategy at Fundraising Strategy Virtual Summit 2021

Next steps

If you want to learn more about this topic, check out these 7 top strategy webinars available On Demand:

  1. The key questions to consider when developing your fundraising strategy
  2. The value of models and theories
  3. The British Red Cross approach to developing a people-centred fundraising strategy
  4. Human Focused Strategy
  5. Strategy is a feeling
  6. Making your strategy usable every day
  7. The data you need to make decisions

You can also get in touch with Richard on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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