Fundraising Plan: Key Components

This area of the plan is filled with landmines because there may be a large number of events that are totally out of your control… so expect the unexpected and plan for it.

Even if you have a well thought-out plan, sufficient funds to execute it, a great mission and a compelling story to support it, a loyal and empathetic target audience and you will be employing proven and tested fundraising methods, your campaign could still falter if… you failed to set realistic timeframes to meet stated objectives.

It’s very easy and mostly shortsighted to list just broad categories or events by date. It’s much more effective to break down those events into smaller and more detailed items that go into the larger item. This will give you greater managerial control of the project because you are now monitoring each aspect of the campaign and, by being aware of a larger number of components, you will be able to anticipate problems, make revisions or use alternative resources much more easily. This is the best way to ensure that small easily solvable problems don’t fester into larger unmanageable and more expensive ones.

I also recommend for each activity or component, you list a specific person who is responsible for the completion of that activity. It would also be a good idea to list alternatives, especially for mission critical items, in case something happens to a person or organization you depend on for completion of that task.

Timeframes invariably change and will be modified throughout the process but by breaking up large categories into smaller components, you will be in a better position to make changes quickly, effectively and less expensively.


Every campaign should be evaluated as a learning experience. You will always learn something new that is usually unexpected and valuable. Always analyze every aspect of the campaign and evaluate what happened and how it could be improved. Analysis and evaluation should be ongoing. Park you ego and set aside your emotions and try to review the campaign as if it were being done by a superior or outside consultant.

Develop a set of criteria for each aspect of the campaign such as the number of new donors generated, the amount of money raised, the average donation amount, the total cost of the campaign, the amount of time it took to complete and the services and human resources employed. And don’t forget to analyze the intangibles as well even if this is a little more tricky and subject to your own prejudices.

Those intangibles could include the attitude and cooperation you received from all participants, any changes in donor loyalty or changes in your organization’s reputation.


You should view each campaign as a learning experience and try to determine:

  • What accounted for the biggest successes in the campaign?
  • What were the biggest problems you had to overcome and how successful were your decisions?
  • What should you change, add or eliminate?
  • How will this campaign affect future plans for developing multi-year programs, employing advanced technology or more sophisticated systems?
  • And most important of all, what did you learn that would help you to raise your funding goals, implement more programs, expand your target audience, increase efficiencies and help more people?

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