Powerful Planning for Development Part 2:

Where are you Now?

In the first article of the Powerful Planning Series Where are you Going?’ article, we talked about the central importance of knowing why you want to go where you want to go. Where you want to go is simply where you need to be to accomplish your WHY.

You might be saying, “Great, I know why I want to go so go.” Okay – lots of folks feel that way, just get moving and you’ll get there. And because God is good, you might.

But you’ll find you are better off if you take one other factor into your planning: Where are you now?

Where is your Performance?

This is where fundraising strategy gets a little more clinical. Performance analytics are key to understanding where you are. In fundraising, response is performance.

  1. Performance is multi-dimensional: How is the response by channel? By message? By offer?
  2. Performance is a cost-benefit equation: What did that response cost you? By channel? By offer (yes, premiums count in this equation)? Do you have a way to track that cost-benefit over time?
  3. Performance is time-driven: Baseline response over the course of 3 years minimum. Anything shorter than 3 years is a snapshot of potential, not a trend due to the seasonality of fundraising. It’s where you are today. Look at all channels and their performance over time.
  4. Performance is a result of dialogue: What are your constituents telling you? Do you have a way to know? (Hint: if your only feedback mechanism is Twitter or Facebook, you’re probably not as well informed as you hope.)
  5. Performance requires emotional intelligence and a good ear: Are you projecting assumptions on their response? Are you working to ensure that your “read” on their input is sound?

Where are you Starting?

If you’re hoping to increase the power of your plan, where you are now is key – – it provides the context for movement toward your goal. We all start somewhere, and your organization is no different. It doesn’t matter if you are a new organization or 150 years old – today you are starting from somewhere.

How clear are you on where your start point is this year? The clearer you are, the more effective and efficient your fundraising plan will be.

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