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Four Ways a Strong Strategic Plan Can Help You Fundraise

BY: Erin HellthalerON: 03.15.2023

Organizational leaders that have recently completed a strategic planning process often find themselves simultaneously inspired about the future and overwhelmed by the work of implementing their strategy and garnering donor support to bring the plan to life. In addition to ensuring your organization is working toward mission-driven goals, a thoughtful strategic plan can amplify your fundraising efforts. Here are four ways that your strategic plan can help motivate donors to support your work.

  1. Helps donors envision a shared future. A strong vision statement–one that is bold, memorable, and concise–is foundational to strategic planning. Giving voice to a compelling vision allows prospective donors to more fully imagine the future you are working towards and rally behind it.
  2. Builds trust (and manages expectations!). A well-thought-out strategy demonstrates that your organization and its leaders have a clear plan for what they will prioritize and accomplish over the next couple of years. Strong planning processes consider what the organization should focus on and evaluate the tradeoffs for these prioritization choices (i.e., what you will not focus on). Being able to articulate your organization’s mission, strategic priorities, and a path to accomplishing them will build confidence with prospective donors that your organization will effectively steward their resources.
  3. Communicates your ability to achieve impact. Effective plans lay out the outcomes you are working toward, how you intend to monitor and evaluate progress, and may include details about how you might pivot in the face of obstacles. This level of forethought demonstrates organizational competence and commitment to impact, bolstering donor confidence in your ability to deliver on your plan and navigate challenges that might (will) come up along the way. Even more, by proactively sharing a plan to measure and evaluate progress, donors may be less inclined to implement additional reporting requirements.
  4. Serves as an entry point for new connections. Your strategic plan can double as an outreach tool to generate touchpoints with prospective funders. If you are just launching your strategic plan, leverage the opportunity to create buzz through various communication and social media channels and set up introductory meetings to share the headlines: your vision and strategic priorities. If you are in the middle of implementing your plan, consider sending a midpoint update highlighting successes and, if appropriate, creating a call to action around organizational challenges.

When armed with a great strategic plan, you’ll attract the people and institutions, both inside and outside of your current network, that shares your vision for the world.

We’re here to help! Our Three Cs of Donor Prospecting is a step-by-step guide on how to identify prospective donors for your organization. Click below to download your own copy!

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