Fundraising Plans

To Keep or Not to Keep?

We’ve all heard the phrase “because that’s how we’ve always done it” used to defend a practice, method or idea. I’m a big fan of traditions, but I can’t help but cringe when I hear someone say this. Here’s why…

When I work with development professionals, I often hear them talk about pieces of their annual campaign that are a huge lift for their team. In many cases, the initiatives don’t bring in very much revenue, and it becomes hard to justify the work that goes into them. When I ask why this is part of their development plan, sometimes my clients have perfectly logical explanations ­– like an event that brings in new donors, even if they are at lower levels, or an initiative that gets a lot of press, therefore improving the organization’s visibility and reputation.

However, in most cases, I am usually met with some version of “I don’t know, but we always do it this way”. That’s when my red flag goes up.

Every organization has their example of something that takes a ton of work and raises very little money. You may have yours in your head right now.

I’m here to tell you something that I hope feels freeing: you don’t have to do it. I’m going to say that again because it’s that important…you don’t have to do it.

Now, before you go through your development plan and cut out anything that’s challenging, there are some important questions to ask yourself:

  1. What’s the potential loss to my budget if I cut this activity?
  2. Can I replace the revenue from this activity with something else? If so, what would that be?
  3. Could my time go towards another fundraising activity that will generate more revenue? If so, what would that be?
  4. Who else do I need to talk to before deciding not to do this activity?

In today’s freebie, I’m sharing my tips to help you prepare for the conversation in #4. It’s one thing for you to be convinced, but when you’re making a change to your development plan it’s crucial for your team to be on board and to understand why you are making the suggestion.

Thinking critically about fundraising activities is going to make you a better professional and a better fundraiser. Are you ready to start freeing up your time and bringing in more money?