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Building a Fundraising Strategy: Why you need to do it yesterday

by Paul

It seems like every development office I come in contact with has a slightly different way of doing business. One has two prospect researchers that support 20 gift officers. One has a combined staff for alumni relations, while another keeps it separate. But even with these seemingly large differences, every office is working toward the same goals of receiving the largest gifts in the shortest amount of time.

So what are the true factors that make some offices more successful and more efficient than others?

One factor is strategy implementation. Offices that implement the practice of goal and strategy definition are the organizations synonymous with fundraising success.

Building a strategy for meeting fundraising goals is no different than building a strategy to take a private company to profitability and success. It requires strong leadership, defined resources, and appropriate distribution of those resources.

When we talk about a fundraising strategy, we are referring not only to a broad direction for marketing, but also about the smaller steps that come together to form a workflow that defines our fundraising process.

The question arises: Why should our office dedicate already strained resources into developing a clear process and strategy for fundraising? The answer lies with the saying “you cannot manage what you cannot measure.”

As we begin to document and define our office’s own workflows in prospect identification, prospect research, wealth screening, relationship mapping, and fundraising, we can begin to see which processes are the most successful and which need to be modified or moved to increase success.

The secondary benefit lies with the more efficient integration of new ideas and tools. In the vast world of fundraising, new ideas and new tools are always coming into the industry. The challenge then becomes implementing and integrating these ideas into your existing network of tools and processes.

The more your office has both a broad and specific strategy in place, the easier it will be to identify the points for improvement and implement the changes that need to happen at those exact points in the process.

Make it happen.

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