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Creating an Effective Fundraising Strategy

"Fail to plan = plan to fail". This applies especially to fundraising, where the sustainability of an organisation depends not on short-term actions, but on a planned and sustained effort to maximise funding opportunities over time.

This is all the more true in today's competitive environment and economic conditions. While there will always be pressure on organisations to fundraise today, it is essential also to maintain activities that raise funds in the medium and longer term.

How this will be achieved should be laid out in an agreed fundraising strategy, which sets achievable objectives and identifies future sources of funds, as well as how these funds will be raised, what resources will be needed (in terms of people, information and budgets) and how progress will be monitored.

In larger organisations, the fundraising strategy will, of course, be more lengthy and detailed, but in essence serves the same purpose of setting out an agreed path to follow, identifying the resources to deliver it and enabling the organisation to measure progress against objectives.

The content of the fundraising strategy will vary considerably between organisations and, for example, depending on whether you are planning to raise revenue or a major capital sum. However, the principals are the same and even a basic fundraising strategy is better than no strategy at all.

One important role that a fundraising strategy can play is to help an organisation to diversify its funding sources over time. We often hear from charities that are too dependent on a small number of income streams and which need to diversify in order to become more sustainable and reduce their dependence on external decision makers (especially if these are statutory funders).

Occasionally, we see charities that rely almost totally on one source or funder. This is highly dangerous and risks organisational failure if the funder pulls the plug (which can happen). So having a diversified income base is a strategic imperative and the fundraising strategy can help to achieve this. It does take time of course, so having a strategy is, in itself, not an instant fix, but it does at least give an organisation a clear map to follow, which can deliver greater security in the future.

So if your organisation needs help in thinking through its strategy and determining the way forward, please contact Simon George on 01785 663600 for a free initial chat.

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