Why Your Nonprofit Needs an Annual Fundraising Strategy

If your current fundraising is more like throwing spaghetti at the wall, or feels like it happens only when the money urgently needs to come in, then very likely your fundraising is an extremely stressful and random experience for you and your team. Setting an annual fundraising strategy would set the course for your next year of fundraising activities and ensure that it aligns with your organization’s goals. 

What is an annual fundraising strategy?

A good fundraising strategy is a documented plan. It includes instructions, goals, and processes you and your team are expected to follow. It’s a financial roadmap, and it will often include repeated processes from what has worked in years past.

If you’re new to fundraising, you may be feeling resistant to the idea of putting together a strategy at all. And we get that. However, we’d like to reframe fundraising in this way:

  • Your nonprofit has a mission and vision
  • Your nonprofit has programs in order to reach that mission and vision
  • Therefore, you have a budget outlining what is needed to support those programs
  • Which then requires a fundraising strategy in order to generate the revenue needed to achieve your mission and vision

In North America, many nonprofits fundraise at the end of the year and/or at the end of their fiscal year. Doing active campaigning during peak fundraising times makes sense, and yet it’s easier to meet your budget throughout the year when you have regular fundraising planned all year long. It will keep your revenue more consistent and it will allow your organization to focus on their programs rather than on their budget.

Your fundraising strategy is critical for keeping your team on the same page. It outlines what your nonprofit is focusing on for the next 12 months and tracks when events begin and end. 

Annual donor communications calendar

This campaign booklet was part of a strategic communications calendar we created for a $1,500,000 Capital Campaign for Options Community Services.

From your annual fundraising strategy, you’ll also benefit from creating a donor communications calendar.

In order to be successful, communications need to be consistent and strategic. The calendar should include all of the communications that your nonprofit plans to send during the year, everything from newsletters and annual reports to thank-you campaigns and email appeals.

Donor communications calendars incorporate all mass communication with donors, in any format. This includes letter mail, email, phone, social media, and more. This calendar should include deadlines and outline responsibilities so your team knows what’s expected of them.

A strong communications calendar is a balance of messaging and timing. It ensures there are no significant gaps between touchpoints and well-balanced types of communications. It also ensures campaigns don’t overlap or compete. Your communications calendar can help you find a good rhythm for fundraising activities to follow, so they have their best chance for success.

If it’s time for your nonprofit to develop an annual fundraising strategy, and you’d like a partner to help navigate your next steps, please reach out today! Our team will help you stay connected with your donors while keeping your fundraising targets on track.