Without goals, it’s tough to raise the money you need to fund your programs.
When there’s no targeted result, it’s tough to know when you’ve crossed the finish line.
But, what if you’re not sure what your fundraising goals should be?
What if you just want to raise as much money as you can, then figure out how to spend it?
Actually, don’t do it that way. It’s backwards and too vague to be effective.
I have a better idea.
Where do all good things start? With the end in mind.
Start by clearly defining your organization’s impact goal this year. What’s the BIG difference you want to make?
- For an animal rescue, how many dogs/cats/guinea pigs do you want to save?
- For a food bank, how many pounds of food and subsequent meals will you distribute?
- For a housing nonprofit, how many families will become home owners?
If your impact goal is substantial, that’s even better. It becomes a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) and that’s something donors get excited about.
After all, no one makes big gifts to mediocre goals. (Think about that.)
A good BHAG is something that may not be accomplished this year. And maybe not next year either.
It could take some time. That’s okay.
Don’t get hung up on something that can be neatly put in a box and checked off the list by 12/31/18. Focus on what matters – the lives your nonprofit is changing.
Here’s what a BHAG might look like:
- For an animal rescue, you may try to take your community to No Kill status
- For a food bank, you may want to eliminate hunger in your area
- For a housing nonprofit, you may want to make sure that everyone who needs simple decent affordable housing has access to it
See how big, hairy, and audacious those goals are?
Goals with zip and zing tend to raise more money than those that are ordinary and unremarkable.
Zip and zing will get you bigger results, so let’s do that.
Set 3 main goals
Most folks focus on one thing in fundraising: money.
Seems obvious, right?
But there are other things that are equally important.
Like donor retention.
Donor retention numbers across the board are not great.
And it’s stupid in my opinion. All you have to do to keep people giving is to treat them with a lot of respect and give them a good experience. The problem is that so many people are so focused on money that they forget about the donor and the relationship.
Want to keep more donors? Focus on the relationship instead of the money.
Right alongside donor retention, you need to think about donor acquisition. Where and how will you get new donors to replace the ones that are slipping away? How can you inspire them to pull out their wallet and make a donation?
So, there are 3 main things you should be focused on as you raise money:
- Dollars you need to fund your work
- The number of current donors you need to renew
- The number of new donors you need to bring in
Set specific, measurable goals for each one of these based on historical data, and predicting success will get easier.
Lay out the strategies you plan to use (direct appeals, ask events, monthly giving, etc.) and how each one will support each of these three goals, and you can come very close to predicting what your numbers will look like this year.
Add the hot sauce
Having a detailed plan can make a huge difference in your success.
I see this ALL the time with clients. The ones who have plans in detail about what they want to accomplish are much more successful than those who don’t.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to dig into the details of your plan so you can reach your 3 critical goals.
- What fundraising activities worked well last year that I can repeat this year? Is there a way to make them even more productive?
- What didn’t work at all and should be let go?
- What sort of worked but has room for improvement and needs to be tweaked?
- What fundraising activities seemed easy to do? Which ones do I personally enjoy doing?
- What fundraising activities do I despise?
- What could I let go of that would free up some time and energy for something even better to take its place?
- What could I delegate to someone else (other staff person, volunteer, intern, or committee)?
The answers to these questions will give you some clues about where to spend your time this year to get the most bang for the buck. I tell my clients to only do those things that bring them the most ROI and avoid the ‘nickel and dime’ stuff.
Make your goals real
Something one of my coaches told me once was that if I want my goals to become real, I had to tell someone.
You see, telling someone gives you accountability because now you know someone’s watching to see if you do the thing you said you’d do.
I’d love for you to make your prediction real by sharing your fundraising goals for the year in the comments. I’ll be right here all year to root for you and cheer you on.