How to create a Fundraising Plan for a New Nonprofit

We’re already halfway through the first quarter of 2018.  Your nonprofit has big goals but you’re uncertain how to achieve them. With the mass of fundraising advice, sources, strategies and tools available, a new nonprofit, just getting started with its fundraising can be more than confused.


Here are six simple steps to get you started on a successful fundraising plan.

  1. Develop your fundraising goals. You should have goals for not only how much money needs to be raised but what the money will be used for. Will it be used towards overhead expenses? To fund an ongoing or new program? To close a deficit? Possible donors want to understand where and how their donation will be used.
  2. Write down your fundraising plan. It is important to take time between fundraising campaigns. You don’t want to create donor fatigue. By developing a written plan that states how much you need to raise, from what sources, and how you will do it allows you to monitor your efforts along the way. Plans should be reviewed and revised as you go along. Start with some basic questions around current programs and funding. This initial assessment will help you identify what your monetary goal should be for your fundraising.
  3. Estimate how much your fundraising program will cost. Don’t forget to include costs such as postage, creating a website, running special events, staff hours dedicated to fundraising, and personnel costs of managing volunteers that you’ll be relying on to help you raise funds. Think cost-efficiency – you don’t want your costs eating up all of your fundraising proceeds! Something else to keep in mind, most experts recommend that fundraising and overall administrative costs not exceed 25 percent of your overall operating budget.  Does your nonprofit follow the same model? Donors want to see that their dollars are making a direct impact and not just offsetting administrative costs.
  4. Develop a timeline for your fundraising plan. Fill in your yearly calendar with specific activities. Remember to leave time between activities to do a proper debrief and assessment. Timelines may change but having a yearly plan to start with will ensure that you get something accomplished. You’ll want to start thinking about identifying a lead for each one activity early on and going one step further by developing a specific timeline for each fundraising campaign.
  5. Identify funding sources. Are there audiences you are not tapping into? Have you considered government grants? Have you considered online fundraising? Do you have a monthly giving program? Have you developed a donor prospect list?
  6. Evaluating your fundraising plan throughout the year. Evaluation will improve your results. How do you plan to determine whether or not a specific campaign or special event was successful? What criteria will you use – the amount of money raised, the number of new donors?
    Plan to evaluate what you are doing every few months. Based on your findings you can determine next steps – biggest challenges? what should you change, add or drop?


Successful fundraising plans don’t come together overnight. However, as your organization gets familiar with raising funds over a year’s operation, a move towards multi-year plans, higher goals, more sophisticated strategies, and newer techniques will be key to developing a sustainable fundraising plan. Need help getting started? Want to chat specifically about an upcoming special event or fundraising campaign? We’re here to listen! Contact us to arrange a complimentary 30 minute consultation.