Let’s play The 20 Questions Game!
I am a huge fan of playing the 20 Questions game. I loved playing it when I was a child. I find it very relaxing. It’s like being a detective; asking the probing questions till you get the answer you need. Honing your skills each time you play so you can answer the riddle with the least amount of questions used. I’ve worked with organizations who come to me looking for the solution to their funding dry spell without having done the ground work. I love teaching organizations how to come up with their plan. It’s fun to me. If you think about your organizations funding needs in terms of the 20 Questions Game you will find the task of writing your plan enjoyable.
There are many different questions that can go through an organizations mind when they need an infusion of funding and it can make everything seem overwhelming. The best strategy would be to have a set strategic plan in place BEFORE your organization becomes desperate for funds. Strategic plans are fluid documents and should be updated often. You can use a strategic plan for every aspect of a organization or company. I recommend updating you Fund Development Strategic Plan after each major event or fundraising drive. Like the 20 Questions Game with each new question there can arise new alternatives to implementation. Updating your set of questions will help keep the process flowing smoothly. If you find that your organization does not have a strategic plan in place or that it is out of date some of the tips below will be helpful.
Deciding on the next step:
Where to go from here? Should you put together a full panel and map out a strategic plan? How many people can you spare to organize and run a fundraiser? Do you have a youth group or volunteers who would help? Should you sell a product to raise the funds desired? Will selling a product raise the funds we need? What has worked in the past? Will it work in the future? The is the market like in your area? These are some of the questions that need to be answered and should take time and careful consideration.
The most important 2 questions that need to be answered are:
How much money do we need to raise?
This question is the basis for the whole plan. Without knowing the amount that needs to be raised you wont get anywhere. If you need to raise a small amount then you might want to look into small candy sales, door to door pop bottle drive and the like. If you need to raise amounts over say $5,000 then you will need to develop a larger donor base and or, create an amazing event. These are not the only options. There are thousands of options out there but you need to use one that will work for YOUR organization. What worked for one might not be a match for yours.
From there you need to decide:
How soon do we need these funds?
The question of how soon are funds needed should be done at least 6 months in advance. I don’t know how many times I’ve met with potential clients looking for a quick fix to their shortage of funds. By the time they get to me they are so desperate for funds because they haven’t done their homework that they can’t even afford to hire a fundraiser. Now my policy is not to turn anyone away due to lack of funds. It makes it more exhilarating to teach them the tools they need to succeed and sit back and watch them fly. It’s the best feeling in the world to watch the light go off in their eyes when they see the results of what I’ve taught them.
Again this is just the beginning. Mull over the first two questions and when you’ve gotten to a point where you can answer them completely move on to the next set of questions. If you would like a sample strategic planning questions guide or If you would like additional help developing the right strategic plan fill out the contact form above and I would love to sit down with you to go over options. This is a process. Don’t rush it. Like my mom always said, “If you did it right the first time you wouldn’t be in the spot you are now having to take more time to do it over.”