How to Plan a Fundraising Campaign: Tips to Achieve Your Goals

“You should always be looking for how to plan a fundraising campaign in a way that gives you the space and resources to pursue your mission.”
Emma Savoie

While many nonprofits, businesses, and churches require fundraising in order to maintain operations, most do not know how to plan a fundraising campaign.

Nevertheless, just like writing an essay for school without a thesis, fundraising without a plan can become disorganized, scattered, and ultimately cost as much in resources as it makes.


How Planning a Fundraising Campaign Begins with Your Mission

Fundraising is the process of soliciting voluntary donations and funds from individuals or businesses to help your organization grow. It includes making financial goals and a campaign or plan to track your funds and maintain consistency.

While your nonprofit may receive individual donations at random, this can be unreliable and potentially unsustainable. You should always be looking for how to plan a fundraising campaign in a way that gives you the space and resources to pursue your mission.

One of the biggest keys to fundraising is having a clear mission. Whether applying for a grant, creating your own fundraising campaign, or reaching out to potential donors, a clear mission helps organize your thoughts or persuade others to support you.

The best way to start is with the end in mind. Consider your mission statement. How much does your group need to fulfill your mission?

Start general: write out your mission statement. What is the goal of your nonprofit? Who are you appealing to? Who are you helping? Why did you start? What is your two or five year goal?

Along with your mission statement, write out a projected budget that includes all expenses and how much to expect to collect in fundraising based on previous years. Determine how much you need to plan to raise by subtracting expenses from guaranteed income.

Believe it or not, it does help to physically write out a fundraising campaign plan. If you are the head of your nonprofit or business, you are the best person to write this out. If you have someone on your team who handles development, collaborate with them to write this out—they should have an idea of how to plan a fundraising campaign.

The best way to get ahead is to get started! Not sure where to begin? Start by answering those questions above, then move into listing out potential sources of support.



Sources of Support: How to Plan a Fundraising Campaign

What tactics will you use in order to reach your fundraising goal? The Fundraising Authority lists out several fundraising ideas:

  1. Major Donors: Always continue developing relationships with the donors who helped you get off the ground, and continue looking for others who are invested in your mission. If you rely heavily on major donors, consider investing in a donor management system.
  2. Events: A great way to treat both your donors and network! Consider what types of events complement your mission and your group, whether that’s a silent auction, cook off, walk-a-thon, ball, or something small.
  3. Direct Mail: See this piece for how to do direct mail campaigning tactfully.
  4. Online and E-giving: A huge part of online giving is your marketing strategy. For more on how to create a clear marketing strategy to reach online donors, see this article published by Anna Montgomery & Co! Make sure giving options are clear and payment options are flexible. It does not matter if you have a clear mission and market well if there is no call to action — potentially interested donors will not know how to send you money.
  5. Grants: These are an under-utilized source of funding that do not require any payback. However, it does require a clear grant proposal, which depends on the mission statement you wrote out earlier! For tips on applying for grants, see our article “Grants Should Be an Important Part of Your Team’s Fundraising. Here’s Why…”
  6. Annual Giving and Multi-Year Giving Campaign: A report by found that 84% of recurring donors take additional action on top of their recurring donation, including volunteering, making additional one-time gifts, attending an event, and more!
  7. Consider crowdfunding for urgent needs.
  8. For more ideas, see this list of 150+ options on how to plan a fundraising campaign from CauseVox.



Don’t Forget the Timeline!

Whenever you are working toward a fundraising goal, it becomes more attainable with a clear timeline in mind. Otherwise, goals can quickly fade off into the horizon.

First, write down any hard financial deadlines, such as due dates for payments. Consider these when writing out your timeline and planning fundraising events.

Be careful not to be overly optimistic about the amount of time it may take to launch a campaign. Make your timeline practical and achievable and schedule times to reassess the yearly goals so you can make necessary adjustments based on short-term campaign results.

Some details you may want to include in your timeline are event planning meetings, event dates, decision dates, when invitations go out, and when the best time to call a potential donor might be. While developing this schedule, you can also consider how to delegate tasks in order to make fundraising more manageable.



How to Plan a Fundraising Campaign That’s Mission-Driven: Show the Impact

As a small business, nonprofit, or church, your donors are and ought to be connected to your mission. With a mission-driven fundraising campaign, those who contribute will want to see the rewards of their investment.

Share stories, post images, or release blog posts on your website detailing the positive impact of donations. Clearly communicate how each donation carries over into a tangible solution that furthers your mission. This will help ensure sustained investment in your group. We live in a visual culture: videos or stories that highlight how an investment carries over into reward will encourage others to join in your mission!

Curious how you can maintain fundraising campaigns or want to know more about how to plan a fundraising campaign? Reach out to us for personalized assistance!

Emma Savoie
Emma is an artist who loves finding creativity in unexpected places—meeting strangers, observing new landscapes, or simply in communicating the simple joys of daily life. She views creativity as storytelling, and she enjoys finding ways to share her perspective with the world. When she isn’t working, she enjoys surfing, eating Indian food, or reading.


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