Nonprofit Resource Connection Newsletter
First Quarter 2010
FAQ: Why is a Fundraising Plan Important? And Who’s Responsible?
Kathy Grochow, Nonprofit Resource Specialist, St. Cloud
Fundraising is a complex and increasingly professional endeavor and the board has the ultimate responsibility for the well-being of the organization and thus for the planning process. The role of the board as the organization’s governing body is to develop the policies that will guide the organization’s resource development activities. This includes policies related to the responsibilities of board members for participation in fundraising activities often guided by a fund development plan. Since the board is responsible for the vision and direction of the organization as well as for ensuring adequate resources, boards are more often requiring staff to develop a fundraising plan and working together in its planning and implementation.
Planning is important because it provides the opportunity for boards to draw conclusions and think strategically about issues that could potentially have a significant impact on the organization, its resources, and its future. Through this level of thinking, a board and staff can agree on priorities and match the need for resources with the priorities that are essential to the organization’s mission.
According to BoardSource, Board members have both corporate and individual responsibilities related to resource development:
- With their board colleagues, to adopt fundraising policies and goals, to understand how the funds will be raised, and monitor implementation
- Individually, to make a financial contribution and actively support the organization’s fundraising efforts
There are many ways in which to raise money. Successful organizations often combine various approaches depending on the culture of their constituencies and the capacity present among board, staff, and volunteers. A fundraising plan may include annual mail campaigns, special events, and individual solicitations which together represent different levels of engagement with potential donors and provide opportunities for increasing levels of commitment. With a plan in place, board members are able to participate in various aspects of the plan that are aligned with their skills that they bring to the board.