FUNdraising Good Times: How to create your strategic plan and fundraising plan

   Part two of a three part series

 Get ready to plan for your success starting with your strategic and fundraising plans. We talked with Bridget Ciaramitaro, talented nonprofit planner, and share her expertise with you. Let’s get to work!

Let’s start with the strategic plan. We asked Ciaramitaro the basic question: what is a strategic plan? Here are her words of wisdom:

“A strategic plan is the result of a planning process that ends in making informed choices as to the future path of an organization. The key word is “strategic.” It is equally important to choose not to do something as it is to make the choice of moving in a particular direction. A strategic plan is a road map. Unfortunately, some nonprofits bypass the strategic plan and react to the external and internal environments. A plan helps increase impact by focusing an organization, encouraging responses instead of reactions, and avoiding/preventing a crisis mode of operation that can lead to loss of fundraising and even loss of public trust,” Ciaramitaro began.

“A strategic plan is critical to fundraising and resource development. Many donors and foundations and even government sources are now interested in how a proposal fits is part of a long-term strategic plan. This cannot be “made up” at the time of the submission of the proposal or funding request. The strategic plan combined with the business plan is one of the best resources for fund raising.”

“A strategic plan also gets everyone in the organization and important external stakeholders on the same page. It is an important tool for recruiting board members and volunteers, and recruiting and retaining staff. The strategic plan provides the framework for organizational evaluation and even program evaluation.”

Our next question to Ciaramitaro, What is a fundraising plan?

“A fundraising plan outlines how an organization will seek resources to meet short-term and long-term needs. This plan is critical to building sustainability. When it is implemented you can evaluate the success of tactics and strategies over a period of time. This plan gives direction to the board, CEO and any development staff as to when they should be implementing particular strategies. It almost always includes professional development for all involved, particularly education and training for the board.

“The fundraising plan leads to a fundraising calendar that alerts the board, staff, volunteers and even donors as to upcoming activities and deadlines. This allows for backwards planning to prevent last minute crisis activity before a campaign is implemented or before an event. This calendar also is a reality check for a nonprofit in determining the feasibility of what can actually be accomplished with the human and financial resources available.”

She closed her comments with, “A good fundraising plan will provide reasonable target amounts to be raised by each strategy, identify who will lead the strategy and provide a rationale as to why the amount raised is doable.”

 Part three is all about the business plan. Share these columns within your organization and get ready to plan. Bridget Ciaramitaro is the president of Ciaramitaro & Associates, LLC. Reach her at or via LinkedIn.

Copyright 2019 – Mel and Pearl Shaw

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