The 5 critically-important, unvarnished, and uncomplicated steps to raising considerably more money:
- Start by creating an institution-wide strategic plan that invites input and perspectives from a variety of constituents. The finished plan should specifically identify key priorities your institution will pursue over the next 3-5 years and should paint an inspirational narrative of how you will meaningfully fulfill your mission in the future.
- Next, from the input received during the strategic planning process, draft a winsome preliminary case statement. This draft document does not have to be overly-designed and polished at this point. Instead, identify the 5-7 key priorities from the strategic plan you believe donors may have an interest in funding and craft a few sentences about why each will most impact your institution’s capacity to further your mission in the future.
- Then, based primarily on the various individuals who provided input during the strategic planning process, invite 10-15 mission-centered volunteers to help prepare for and implement a fundraising campaign. These are individuals who already believe in the institution and its future and are personally willing to help publicly proclaim the goodness of your cause.
- As a next step, ask your volunteers to help identify who else may want to give in support of your mission and these priorities. Specifically, at this step, the work is to engage prospective major donors and ask if they are willing to learn more about the institution’s exciting vision for the future. Asking for permission to engage others is a constructive step because it helps focus your efforts on those who are interested and willing to go deeper with your cause.
- Finally, with your case statement refined, your volunteers in place, and your likely donors identified, create strategies to personally invite others to make a gift. These personal invitations should include a specific amount for a specific purpose (of course, this purpose can be “unrestricted.”)
Do strategic planning well.
Craft a compelling case statement.
Meaningfully engage volunteers.
Ask to ask.
Personally invite specific gifts.
Generating more gift income really is that simple.
And it is also far from easy.