Typically, strategy is driven by what’s familiar. We do what is inexpensive, what is easy, what has worked in the past, what has worked for someone else. We do things that are based on our current capabilities and stay away from growing our capabilities, or we focus on “shiny” new things that hold the promise of quick fixes to our giving problems. But different ideas are not necessarily good ideas.
Strategy needs to be driven from a solid base of data and information. That data and information needs to be filtered through your organization’s philosophy of fundraising. This enables you to develop a strategy that is in direct response to that data. The strategy then drives the creative process, which produces a result.
A critical point of data we often don’t think about is our own assessment of the fundraising work we’re doing. We look at these categories of evaluation covering fundraising strategy and fundraising execution:
|Fundraising Assessment Areas|
|Constituent Messaging||1.1 Core Messaging1.2 Brand Promise
1.3 Case for Support
1.4 Impact Measurement
|Donor Intelligence||2.1 System Support2.2 Tracking and Testing
2.3 Analytic Dashboards
2.4 Accessible Information
2.5 Actionable Reporting
|Integrated Communication||3.1 Lifetime Value3.2 Communication Planning
3.3 Cross-Channel Engagement
3.4 Donor Stewardship
3.5 Attract and Join
3.6 Build and Multiply
|Fundraising Capacity||4.1 Development Structure4.2 Staff Expertise
4.3 Fundraising Leadership
4.4 Strategic Leadership
4.5 Catalytic Engagement
This assessment grid gives you categories you can use to evaluate your fundraising practices and systems. This is important as you develop solid fundraising practices as an organization.