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Create a development plan

I’m currently working on a development plan for a client and realized this would make a great blog post topic! There are several reasons why I think a development plan is important, the two biggest that a development plan gives you, your staff, supporters, and board good direction, and I continue to see “create a development plan” in so many job ads for fundraisers.

A development plan can include a communications plan and a marketing plan, it all depends on the size of your team, the size of your nonprofit, and your capacity. For this post, let’s stick with just development.

My development plans include a calendar of items, how to track work along with what success looks like, and what parts others can play in the overall development strategy (and the success of the plan). The calendar makes it easier to show how your plan breaks down in regards to all types of fundraising, and it allows you to incorporate events and special days into your plan. For example, if you’re a domestic violence group, you may add October in as part of your plan as it’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Do you want to do a special appeal? Is that a good time to send an impact report to donors?

I include tracking in my plan as well. For example, connecting with 10 donors a week. Or getting to a certain level of giving based on the revenue budget by a specific date. It’s also good to include what success with your plan looks like. It can be as simple as connecting to the revenue budget, decreasing lapsed donors and increasing amount of gift from a specific amount of donors. Tracking donor contacts and meetings helps in determining how that type of work supports the success of the plan.

A development plan does not have to be pages and pages of information. I like to use a power point template for it as that makes it easy to follow and keeps me from adding in too much information per slide.

If you don’t have a development plan, I highly recommend creating one. It can benefit your, your agency, your mission and your impact in ways you might not even expect!

Thanks for reading!