Developing a Fundraising Strategy

23 May 2023 Jocelyn Horton    Last updated: 28 Jun 2023

Glenn Oakes, Caboodle Fundraising, facilitated a training session on Developing a Fundraising Strategy as part of the Cost of Fundraising series, supported by the Department for Communities.
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What’s in your Fundraising Strategy?

Your Fundraising Strategy considers

  • the climate in which you fundraise,
  • assesses your various income streams, and
  • sets a timetable of activity that leads to realistic targeted income.

For your organisation, it provides you with direction and focus for your fundraising efforts to lead to a diverse funding mix. To achieve this:

  • You should gather relevant information that allows you to make informed and prudent decisions through external and internal research.
  • External research methods include analysing the marketplace in which you operate and assessing other successful charities including those operating in other geographical regions. What does this tell you about how you could approach fundraising?
  • Internally, audit your organisation - review your fundraising methods and processes; communication channels and messages, identify un-tapped opportunities and profile of current stakeholders. What skills and resources do you have or need to continue with or try a different income stream?

The Strategy will also include the fundraising activities you will undertake and what methods you will use to engage others and encourage them to donate to your organisation. 

Involving others in your fundraising

When communicating with existing and potential donors and supporters, your Strategy to raise unrestricted income should:

  • consider ways to help people understand the impact they can make,
  • offer an appealing mix of ideas and ways they can get involved in fundraising for you, and
  • provide a superior experience, so they keep coming back for more.

Communication is key in helping people and other organisations including funders understand the benefits of your work and promote fundraising opportunities. Decide as a team agreed language and key messages to communicate and present a consistent brand image that underpins your mission.

Tips

  • Use your social media to direct people to your website’s donation page,
  • highlight fundraising events,
  • piggyback on national or seasonal events such as Easter, Walk this May, International Women’s Day, etc.,
  • provide a link on your email signatures,
  • encourage people to sign up to your newsletter,
  • add a Call to Action in your messaging, e.g. like, share, comment, etc.

In short, think about all your communication channels and use them to build a network of supporters with the goal of creating engaged, active donors.

​What do donors need?

For donors, it is important to demonstrate the benefits of your work. So, consider how you quantify and prove the benefits as well as how you measure and communicate these benefits to engage donors and keep them engaged. Collate case studies, testimonials, conduct polls or surveys, host focus groups, hold donor appreciation days, regularly say thank you and tell them what their help has achieved – be creative.  

To this end, when you are planning fundraising activities, consider the journey donors will take from raising awareness through to building their interest and having them adopt you as their cause. Creating well-thought-out donor journeys that are engaging and demonstrate your appreciation backed with good supporter care can help reduce donor attrition and even bring back lapsed donors.

There’s a wide range of methods to raise unrestricted income, so to ensure your approach meets legal and ethical requirements, review guidance in the Fundraising Regulator’s Code of Practice. Ethics can be trickier, so involve your team in deciding when and how best to fundraise. Involving staff and trustees is essential to achieving your fundraising goals. Get their buy-in and input - survey staff, host focus groups, ask them to evaluate recent fundraising activities, encourage their solutions to problems that have been identified, ask for fundraising suggestions, etc. Your fundraising and communications should not only reflect your mission, but also be an integrated organisational approach.

Trainer

This session was delivered by Glenn Oakes, Caboodle Fundraising. Glenn has over thirty years experience specialising in fundraising and marketing for charities. He managed a national team of fundraising managers, before setting up a consultancy and mentoring business six years ago, to help small non-profit organisations with marketing and income generation

jocelyn.horton@nicva.org's picture
by Jocelyn Horton

Fundraising Advice Officer

[email protected]

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