Powerful Planning for Development Part 1:

Where do you want to go?

If you’ve ever used Mapquest or another navigation tool, you know certain inputs are needed before a plan for your trip can be devised. It all starts with where you are, where you want to go and how you want to get there be it plane, train, bus, car, walk, etc.

The information back is great. You know how long it will take, what the traffic looks like (if you’re driving) or when the next bus or train is, or the best time to leave in order to arrive at your destination at the desired time.

Pretty good.

But presumably, there’s something behind the travel plan – You have a reason wanting to get there. Even if your destination is just to see a view, you have a reason for making the trip.

And that’s where many fundraising plans go awry: means and method can overtake purpose. Too often they fall into Stephen Covey’s “Urgent/Important” or even worse “Urgent/Unimportant” quadrants. Devising the communications calendar, building the social media schedule, renting that list, buying those radio or tv spots – are the equivalent of our airplane, bus, train, car or walk – they are the easy decisions, our MEANS, but they are not our plan.

Are you in the process of devising your annual fundraising plan?

Get where you want to go clear — What is your mission/vision? Is it central to your “plan”? Are you clear on your why? Do your plans reflect that?

As you look at last year’s results, listen to your enthusiastic and motivated social media manager, weigh creative and design issues, review list options and performance, make sure you include taking a step back: how do all these strategies factor into your missional long-view?

Is it possible that the MEANS have overtaken your goals?

Building a communications calendar is the easy part, even projecting revenue is easy compared to the deeper strategic work of alignment. But sustainable results ONLY come from alignment – winning the hearts of donors, understanding their alignment to you and your organization and building on it. Your WHY is the center of your HOW — the ultimate purpose of your “trip”.

  • Are you winning the hearts of your constituents?
  • How do you know?
  • Is your WHY at the center of your messaging (and in all your channels)?
  • Where are people who have a natural affiliation with your “why” to be found?

Get your WHY at the center of your plan and your strategies will have more power.

Next time: Where are you now?

A Thought from Pamela:

My purpose in this series of articles is not to give you templated answers.

That may be frustrating, I know.

But think about it, if I come to you with fully baked answers, I’m not likely to find the best solution for you.

The best plans ALWAYS start with asking better questions – I can best serve you by helping you ask better questions.

The articles in this series are designed to equip you with tools to ask good questions as you build and review your annual fundraising plan.

Pamela McCann