With springtime here, there’s freshness in the air. It’s time to seed and plot gardens. For
many non-profits, it’s time to develop next year’s budget. The CEO is asking for a plan that
demonstrates how the development office will meet the growing demand for programs and
services. A development assessment and a data-driven plan provide the roadmap to meet
the organization’s financial goals.
The development plan provides the steps on how to structure the development office
and to manage donor information. The development plan engages executive leaders and
development staff in meaningful conversations. The plan also provides tactics and financial
models to guide fundraising so an organization’s leaders make good decisions. The plan
identifies what works well and provides new approaches to maximize an organization’s
What are the main outcomes of a development plan?
- It provides clarity: that the financial goals are aligned with the organization’s mission.
- It provides accountability: donors and stakeholders are assured their contributions
- are managed wisely.
- It provides common ground: non-profit leaders, development staff, and their boards
- work together to build capacity and financial stability.
To create a plan, a comprehensive assessment is conducted to evaluate an organization’s
development efforts. It informs leaders of organizations’ readiness to take fundraising to the
When should an organization embark on a comprehensive development assessment? Here
are some situations that prompt an assessment of an organization’s fund development
- Fundraising efforts are flat…or declining.
- There’s been a change in funding sources such as government funding revenue is
- shrinking or gone.
- A strategic planning process results in new programs and initiatives that require new
- or enhanced funding support.
- Executive leadership and/or development leadership has changed. These leaders
- bring their perspectives for new programs and funding initiatives that require
- enhanced fundraising.
- A new development professional is hired. An assessment and plan are tools to
- ensure progress and success.
The end result of this process is a well defined and sustainable fundraising program that
uses new tools and the abilities of human capital to their full potential.