The fundraising plan has several key elements that when executed correctly, will help guide key decisions regarding expenditures that are needed to get the message out. Also, because a fundraising plan includes a process to measure success, needed adjustments and schedule changes to expenditures can be made in advance, which will help the campaign control the message with no surprises. Some other benefits to a Winning Fundraising Plan are:
- Organized Staff Responsibilities: When everyone on a team knows what their roles are and the work to execute their share, the teams success potential rises significantly. However, with regard to fundraising, it is commonly said, it is everyone's responsibility. As a result, without a Winning Fundraising Plan, it will be difficult to have the proper structure needed to build synergy of effort, instead of a cycle of confusion.
- Strategic Deadlines: The campaign manager must mold the Fundraising Plan into cohesion with the overall Campaign Strategy. Successfully blending the two will allow for timely decisions and message promotion. Without these established deadlines, there are two possible results:
- A constant state of panic that funds are needed and needed now. It is essential that prospective donors are encouraged to give and to understand that their donations both desired and important, but not that there is a crisis. However, if there is no plan in place, each prospective donor meeting can feel as if securing a donation is essential to success, which will usually be noticed by the prospect and cause them to feel uneasy. I have seen this play out in person, and the more uncomfortable the donor gets, the less confident the candidate will become. This, most often leads to an uncomfortable meeting which will have potentially immeasurable negatives to the campaign because of the possible spread by word of mouth throughout those who are politically active with donations.
- A candidate who doesn't like to ask for donations will except donors telling them to wait patiently. Obviously, there are rare occasions where a candidate does need to be patient for future donations, but 95% of the time, they need to make the ask, set up a follow up if the donor is not ready to answer, and then follow up. This procedure should not be open-ended, and needs to be controlled by the campaign - not the prospective donor. Donors expect to be asked for a donation, and are usually most comfortable if they know there is a specific amount and a specific time that their funds will be utilized in the campaign.
- Track Progress: A component of a Winning Fundraising Plan will include a prospective donor rating and a pledge to conversion rate. By utilizing a strategy that is measurable, a campaign can adjust procedures if they are not producing the anticipated and planned on results.
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