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The Development Plan: Know Where You’re Going

One of the most important components of effective fundraising is to build revenue streams generated from a smart plan.

Revenue comes from three main streams: Earned income (program fees, interest earned in various accounts), Grants from government and corporations for specific services rendered, and then Donations from individuals. When we’re describing fundraising activities, we’re usually talking about the latter: Our efforts to acquire donations whether through an annual appeal or for a special project or a pledge to a special event.

When I work with a client on a Development Plan, we start with a focus on current donors, acquiring new donors, and building a program of effective special events. We can encompass the Grant effort, and also work on Earned income, but usually my effort with staff and development volunteers is focused on donated income. How do we engage donors? What are the marketing approaches we should apply in this work? Starting with these fundamental building blocks will get the effort moving in the right direction.

Further, the Development Plan takes into consideration how work on events and work on annual appeal sometimes dovetail. Because there can be potential annual appeal donors in our events; and there can be people who want to participate in our events who give to our campaign. So we should find ways to explore this. And social media may be useful tools (Facebook in particular) to help bridge these activities.

Time spent in formulating a smart Development Plan will help key stakeholders in your nonprofit get their work into sharper focus. Particularly if the plan clearly connects with your nonprofit mission.

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