Tip Sheet: Getting Ready to Fundraise

If you are setting up a fundraising shop or have organized a few ad hoc fundraising campaigns or events and now you want to take a more measured and organized approach to your fundraising you need to do some careful planning to get ready to fundraise.

Your Fundamentals

Fundraising Plan and Goal

The first step in getting ready to fundraise is to write your plan. A Fundraising Plan lays out your goals, the tactics you will use to achieve them and what it will cost.  Your Plan should include the following key elements.

Your fundraising plan should set an overall financial goal based on the revenue your organization needs to accomplish its mission. It should also set financial goals for each of the tactics you are employing over the period of the plan, and non-monetary goals [i.e. to increase your donor support base, increase your average gift, build a planned giving program etc.]

Timeline and Tactics

Set out the timeline in which you want to achieve the goals in your Plan. If your organization has a Strategic Plan, your Fundraising Plan will match its timeline. Set out a detailed timeline for each year of the Plan that includes all your fundraising activities [i.e. donor appeal in May; crowdfunding campaign in October; donor recognition event in December]

Plan what tactics you will use to achieve your goals. These can include donor appeals, monthly giving campaigns, major gift asks, events, direct mail etc. Choose tactics that you have the resources to accomplish. If you are building a multi-year Plan, include new tactics you will introduce each year as your fundraising program grows [i.e. monthly and online giving, major gifts campaign etc.]


Calculate detailed projected costs for each tactic in your Plan. For example, a donor appeal will include paper supplies, printing and production, and mailing costs. To get a full picture of what a fundraising tactic costs, include the staff time dedicated to it. These costs will be used to calculate your return on investment [ROI] and help you rate the effectiveness of a tactic.

A good Fundraising Plan includes the measurements you will use to determine if your plan is working. Performance measurements allow you to fine-tune your Plan and make adjustments when some tactics are working well and others are not. Remember, it’s not just about the money you raised. There are other performance measurements you will want to track [i.e. number of new donors, number of visits to your donor website pages, ROI etc.] to get a clear picture of how well your Plan is working.

Before You Start - Ask Yourself:


What fundraising tactics will work best for your organization?


What fundraising tactics do you want to introduce over the course of the Plan?


Do you have the people and resources you need to make your Plan succeed?


What training will your staff and volunteers need to accomplish the goals you have set?