Before you can begin your
fundraising journey, you need to
know where you’re starting from.
Let’s take a moment right now to figure out where you are so we know what steps you need to take next to raise the money you need.
After working with hundreds of nonprofits and having gone through this myself, I’ve discovered 4 distinct stages of growth that you’ll move through as you get better at fundraising.
Stage 1 – Getting Started
This is the very beginning of the process. In Stage 1, you’ve got an idea for a nonprofit to address a problem or a need that you feel really passionate about. You’re excited but a little nervous about moving forward because you know it’s going to be a lot of work and you might even secretly doubt that you’re the right person to do this work.
Stage 2 – Building a Solid Foundation
In this stage, your nonprofit is official and it’s time to open the doors. You have your 501c3 or NGO paperwork and you’re ready to go…. but what are you supposed to do next? There’s so much to be done that it’s a little overwhelming.
Stage 3 – Growing Strong
Your infrastructure is all in place and working, programs are running, and now you’re focused on raising awareness, raising money, and changing more lives. Except it’s not as easy as it looks. Raising the money you need takes a lot of work and there’s always something new to learn.
Stage 4 – Getting Fully Funded
Here’s where you’ve crossed that finish line into the land of fully funded operations. Fundraising is no longer a struggle – it’s fun!
You can see this is a natural progression with each stage building on the last.
Don’t try to skip over milestones just to move faster to the end – that’s a recipe for disaster!
Look through the stages and milestones to determine where you are right now. If you can’t check off EVERY milestone in a stage, that’s where you need to start. So, you might start as a Stage 2 even though you’re already doing some things in Stage 3.
Once you know where you’re starting, work through each milestone so you can confidently check them off. There are free resources on our blog and our YouTube Channel you can take advantage of, or you’ll find step-by-step guidance for working through the Success Path inside our Fundraising TV program.
Knowing where you are right now will make it easier to see which steps you need to take next and that will keep you focused and moving forward.