Dear All, wondered if you could help.
I have been in my post for 7 months and we still have no fundraising strategy in place. With my boss we have determined some short term goals/how my time would best be spent, but I’m thinking a strategy is a must, for the charity and for me. I would like to present one to my boss and trustees, but have no idea what one looks like – how long it should be etc.
Could anyone advise me and/or let me have a copy of their strategy to look at?
Many thanks in advance
Action for Children in Conflict
I’ve just done one. 11 pages.
Introduction, overall funding strategy, aims, objectives, review of current position, following 2 years income and expenditure with shortfall highlighted. Then proposed or new sources of income.
I copied a SWOT thingy from our old business plan and updated it slightly.
I actually used someone else’s 22 page document to get ideas from, though plenty isn’t relevant to my charity.
Not accepted by the trustees yet – only my boss has seen it. But need trustee input to finalise it for this year – they may not want to grow as much as I want us to.
Just one thing missing from your list Martin – although I’m sure its in your strategy.
Who is responsible for what.
Vitally important. Everyone in the organisation has a role in supporting fundraising and these need to be defined in any strategy (e.g. trustees networking, finance department reporting, if applicable, frontline staff assisting with reception of and explanation of work to visiting funders, etc.)
Thanks for your comments both.
Maybe I should give a bit more background detail about my situation: we have a head office of 1 full time CEO, me (part time fundraiser) and a part time finance administrator. We have 5 trustees of which only 3 ever show up to meetings, the other two I have never even met. We have no fundraising committee and although my boss supports me by reading all my applications, making comments and is heavily involved in our shops and direct mail fundraising (ie. unrestricted) I am the only one working on restricted fundraising.
I don’t know if this would make a strategy easier or more complicated. We also are living hand to mouth a bit and I think any strategy would have to focus on short term as things like legacy fundraising etc. can’t be a priority for us right now as we need money now rather than in ten or twenty years’ time…
people talk about getting the trustees involved, in prospecting donors etc but with only three days a week and on my own i find it hard to have enough time to do everything!
Hope to hear back with some wise pearls of wisdom
many thanks in advance
If two of your trustees “never” attend meetings, why are they on the board?
If you have to present the strategy to your boss and trustees then it’s not carved in letters of stone, it’s up for discussion/negotiation.
When write documents for presentation to the board, I put in whatever I want (well, within reason – it’s generally relevant and sensible. Ish.) Then I discuss with the trustees and changes are made as appropriate.
Strategy documents are not an exercise to be stuck on a shelf or in a filing cabinet. They are working documents which are reviewed regularly and adapted as required.
You have a choice: you can write a strategy based on what you think you can achieve working completely on your own. Or you can write a strategy which involves everyone – including necessary training/development for them and you in that work if necessary. The trustees role can start as simple as “advertising” – i.e. in appropriate situations – the ‘getting to know someone’ type stuff – they should be including their trusteeship in response to the “What do you do?” question – and if people are interested, explaining the work, asking people if they would like to be added to your newsletter/events list.
In six months time – you go back to your strategy and work out what’s working, what’s not – and *why*, and talk about what might need to change to a) make the good things work better b) make the not working things work.
Since I started this message off outspoken, I’m going to end it outspoken: if I was working for an organisation where trustees refused to take any responsibility whatsoever for fundraising – even the small one I outlined above – I’d quit.
Actually I missed who is responsible for what from the strategy. Will include in the next draft.
Thanks for that.
Our staff are supportive – just the management committee that may or may not do much.
I can come up with ideas of where I see the organisation in 3 years, and how to get there. But ultimately the responsibility belongs to the trustees – they may have totally different ideas.
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