Link to planning

An ideal starting point for any fundraising activity is to look at the organisation.

What is the organisation's strategy and business plan?

Fundraising is unlikely to be successful if an organisation is not in good shape operationally, nor does it make sense to fundraise for the sake of it. Voluntary and community organisations should be clear about key objectives or outcomes it wants to achieve, and how fundraising will help to achieve this. Key elements that should be considered are:

  • Vision and aspiriations - what do you stand for? Is it unique?
  • Aims and objectives
  • SWOT analysis - identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
  • PEST analysis - political, economic, social and technological
  • The legal and charitable status of the organisation
  • Key stakeholders and beneficiaries
  • Sources and range of income and assets - current, past and future
  • Staff skills audit and responsibilities
  • Current and future activities requiring funding
  • Resources needed in terms of staff, premises, equipment etc
  • Monitoring and evaluation

What will be the scope of the fundraising strategy?

The scope and depth of a fundraising strategy will depend on the particular activity. For example, a three year fundraising strategy will look quite different to fundraising for a one-off, single event. It should not discourage organisations from responding to opportunities, so organisations should not be afraid to change a fundraising plan or strategy if required. But remember it should always fit with the overall aims and objectives of the organisation.

How does the fundraising plan fit in the overall planning process?

Whatever the size or scope of the fundraising strategy, you need to ensure it "fits" with the wider organisational plan. Many organisations use a three-year business cycle to ensure that all activities fit with their objectives. In a three-year business plan, the first year will be detailed and fixed, the second year will be reviewed and amended upon completion of the first year, and the third year plan will set out general direction.