Do you think your annual fundraising goals are:
In last week’s blog, I explained what it means if your fundraising goals are “Way too high,” “Way too low,” or “N/A.” This week, I focus on the more moderate answers to one of my favorite questions from our Organizational and Development Assessment.
- Way too low,
- Somewhat too low
- Just about right
- Somewhat too high
- Way too high
If your answer is:
“Just About Right” fundraising goals – your organization probably falls into one of the following:
- Created realistic fundraising goals with a plan on how to get there. Love to see this!
- Spent time to understand your donors. Congratulations! You were able to predict what you would do for the year and how your donors would respond.
- Set the goals to be exactly the same as last year and planned on replicating last year’s plan to achieve the same amount. Much less impressive. While you may have achieved the same results, relying on the same strategy year in and year out is dangerous. Donors are not automatically giving to the same organizations again and again. We are all approached by more organizations in a more personalized way. We are asked by friends for more and more donations. And, we see more nonprofits who could use our donation for amazing work. You have to continue to tell them why you are the best organization for their philanthropic investment.
“Somewhat too high” fundraising goals – your organization probably falls into one of the following:
- Set fundraising goals without a plan on how to get there. Often there is pressure from the executive director or the board to increase the amount you plan to raise. But just because it is in the budget, doesn’t make it a reality. You need a plan on how to achieve those goals. If they are encouraging you to increase your goals, explain what you need to be successful (e.g. better software to track your donors, more volunteers, more support staff time.)
- You had a major change that you were able to recover from but set you back. Maybe someone was out on sick leave or left your nonprofit. Or maybe you had a planned turnover of a valued volunteer leader that you hoped would not affect your annual fund as much as it did. No matter the reason, let’s hope it was a one-time occurrence.
- Set the fundraising goals to be exactly the same and planned on replicating last year’s plan to achieve the same. This strategy can result in the same results, but it can also result in a slow decline that will eventually turn into a major shortfall. The time to reassess your strategy is now!
“Somewhat too low” fundraising goals – your organization probably falls into one of the following:
- Underestimated the results of your development plan changes. Some people like to under-promise and over-deliver. It’s understandable but have confidence in your plans. It will allow your programming team to benefit from your strong development skills.
- Made changes without using analytics to consider the impact. It’s hard to be precise, but there are a lot of tools that can help you predict growth (or loss) based on your previous donor retention rates. Once you understand where you are and where you have been for the past few years you can decide which area you will focus on this year. Contact Mersky, Jaffe & Associates to help you develop specific benchmarking for your development program. It can help you get closer to your budget reality.
- Didn’t realize you would be working with Mersky, Jaffe & Associates so you didn’t account for the increase in annual funds raised. We help organizations raise more money – when we are focusing on a capital campaign, we work to secure your annual funds before we turn to anything else.
If you would like help creating your fundraising goals, understanding your organization through MJA’s Organizational and Development Assessment or simply want to say hi, email me today to set up a time to speak.