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What’s so important about an annual development plan?

I suppose the second question would be, “Why are you talking about an annual development plan in October?” Look, where your attention goes, energy flows and ultimately, that is where results show.

As we begin the last quarter of the year, it is the perfect time to reflect and begin the process of evaluating where we are, how we have done year to date and consider where we want to be in the coming year.

We all know that running a nonprofit is not free, and budgeting includes both income and outflows. Although the outflows always seem somewhat easier to estimate, your development plan is the road-map to achieving your fundraising goals and providing the resources required to carry out your mission.

Did you know:

  • 20% of nonprofit organizations have no development or fundraising plan

  • 30% say they have an “informal plan”

  • 5% say they will just do what they did last year for fundraising

  • 2% were unsure as to whether they had a plan, and

  • 43% of organizations have an actual annual fundraising plan

Not only that, but:

  • 24% said that developing a strategy was difficult, and

  • 34% have a hard time deciding which tactics to incorporate into their plan

Ok, so maybe you have never worked through a development plan. I get it. Nonprofits are born from the heart, nurtured in compassion and further cultivated in the work of providing service. We don’t all start with a business first perspective. Instead, we get our start from seeing a need that we know we can have some part in solving.

Nonprofits are born from the heart, nurtured in compassion and further cultivated in the work of providing service. -Tammey Grable-Newton, MBA Click to tweet

Let’s talk about the why behind a development plan, and how this one tool can help you further your mission and do more good.

  1. A development plan ensures you have a plan to meet your budgetary revenue goals. Face it, even if you don’t set a goal – your expenses will set one for you. Doesn’t it feel better to be in the driver’s seat?

  2. Having a development plan allows you to set goals and expand your impact.

  3. It keeps your staff, board, volunteers and stakeholders on the same page with both fundraising goals, and expenses.

  4. Your development plan provides the information needed, year over year, to evaluate and expand your fundraising goals and your donor base.

  5. It gets you out of your silo and brings everyone together, getting the team on the same page

Here’s the thing though… creating th