What to Plan First in Fundraising Communications


There’s an idea I use to help organizations create fundraising plans that raise more money:

Identify the pieces of fundraising you create that raise money, and put those on your annual plan before anything else.

Then, make sure you can produce and send all those revenue-generating pieces on time before you add anything else to your calendar.

Of course you will have to add other things. We all do.

And of course there’s a place for stewardship.

But there are people in your organization who treat all communications as equal, not realizing that some raise far more than others. And after you make your plan, you are going to be asked to make and send out additional comms that are not on the plan.

That results in real-life, impact-reducing scenarios every year:

  • Organizations send out an e-news (that doesn’t raise any money) instead of sending out that print newsletter (that raises thousands of dollars)
  • Organizations spending another two weeks polishing the annual report (which loses money) instead of sending out an appeal (which raises thousands of dollars).

But this does not happen in organizations that plan for their revenue-generating fundraising communications first and foremost. They don’t plan for as many e-news because they know that the print newsletters take time. Or they choose not to polish the annual report any longer because they know that, if they do, they won’t be able to make their appeal on time.

What you put on your calendar first, matters.