From time-to-time, I will invite an outstanding, published book author to write a guest post. If you’d like to learn about how to be a guest blogger, click on the “Authors” tab above.
This week, I have invited Amy M. Eisenstein, MPA, CFRE, author of 50 Asks in 50 Weeks, to share her thoughts with us about the value of planning. In addition to being an author, Eisenstein is a fundraising consultant for local and national nonprofit organizations; her firm is Tri-Point Fundraising. In her post, she looks at when planning is not necessary and, when it is necessary, just how easy it is to write one.
As the official description of her book says, Eisenstein helps readers “Raise more money; create a basic development plan; identify new prospects; ask for gifts more frequently; review the basics of fundraising; work with your board on fundraising; hire your first development staff member; and work as a cohesive development team with your executive director, development staff members, and board members…. 50 Asks in 50 Weeks is a development planning tool that focuses on frequency of asking, but also the importance of having a diversified funding base, as well as making sure you are fundraising as efficiently and effectively as possible.”
Whether you’re new to development or an experienced veteran, I think you’ll like Eisenstein’s frank, simple, no-nonsense, common-sense view of development planning:
Not all nonprofit organizations need a development plan. You may be one of them. Here are three reasons you may not need to write a development plan:
- Your organization does not need to raise money because it has an adequate, sustainable revenue stream that is either earned or unearned.
- Your organization comfortably raises enough money every year without a development plan.
- Your organization is closing its doors.
If you happen to work for an organization that does not fall into one of those three categories, and most development professionals do, then you need a development plan.
A development plan is beneficial for all organizations whether yours is a large institution with dozens of fundraising professionals or a small shop where you wear all of the advancement hats. A sound development plan will benefit you in a number of ways:
- It will help you, your colleagues, and superiors better understand what will be necessary to achieve your goals in the coming year.
- It will allow you to clearly prioritize your activities.
- It will make it easier to justify the resources you will need to execute the plan.
- It will ensure that you stay focused on key functions such as getting out and asking for gifts rather than being constantly distracted by the daily minutia.