As you work towards optimizing your fundraising, working more efficiently, and more effectively, you will need a plan to guide your fundraising team’s effort. 

A fund development plan can help your team work more strategically and ultimately raise more money. This article will walk you through creating a fund development plan with helpful tips and best practices to implement at your organization.

What is Fund Development?

Fund development is the process of creating, managing, analyzing, and optimizing a nonprofit’s donor acquisition, engagement, and retention strategies. 

A fund developer’s responsibility is to acquire donors with high donor lifetime value, foster a good relationship with the donor base, and ensure all fundraising communications and marketing activities work towards the organization’s long-term success. 

Fund development is a bit like rehearsing for a play. You put in months of work practicing, building sets, and advertising so you can smash it during the performance. Similarly, fund development requires time and preparation so that nonprofits can be prepared to make the right ask and secure the right donors at the right time. 

Developing genuine, long-term relationships with donors is crucial for fund development. But other aspects include building solid organizational structures that support philanthropic efforts, prospect research, and resource acquisition and allocation. 

This is truly the bread and butter of a fundraiser’s work, and just like the amount of rehearsal before a performance, the quality of a nonprofit’s fund development plan determines the success of its campaigns.

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How to Create a Fund Development Plan

1. Establish a Baseline

The best place to start when creating your fund development plan is by reviewing your past fundraising efforts. This review process helps you gather data and draw insights about your donors and fundraising performances. 

If your organization already has a fund development plan, you could revisit your goals in that plan and use that as a springboard for a new plan. 

When creating your fund development plan, you should conduct a SWOT Analysis of your nonprofit and evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. Next, identify shortcomings in your previous fundraising efforts and establish KPIs and metrics to measure the success of your future performances. 

ou can house and monitor your donor data and fundraising KPIs in KIT. KIT is a fundraising intelligence tool that allows nonprofits to draw critical insights about their data and get recommendations that can enable them to improve fundraising performances. This tool will go hand in hand with your fund development plan to 

To ensure your fundraising plan is comprehensive, you should consider including the following elements: 

Description of the process for monitoring progress, measuring impact, and evaluating performance.

2. Set Clear Goals and KPIs

What do you want your fund development plan to achieve? You need to layout measurable, incremental, realistic goals for your team to work towards and identify KPIs to track your progress. 

Some fundraising KPIs to keep in mind include: 

KIT has a great dashboard that allows you to track and analyze your fundraising KPIs at a glance. It is customizable so that you can choose the most meaningful KPIs for your fund development plan.

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Use this template to record your fundraising metrics so you can better communicate your progress with your team.e sustainable revenue stream.

3. Map Out Your Fundraising Activities

The next step is to determine the fundraising programs you plan to run over a set period. This includes your annual and seasonal campaigns, major gift program, capital campaign, and much more. More so, this may be a good opportunity to brainstorm and decide on new types of fundraising activities, such as a recurring giving program. 

When determining which fundraising activities to add to the plan, examine your donor data to see where you should be putting more of your time and effort. KIT can help you identify trends in your data so you can predict your donor behavior and finetune your fund development plan accordingly.

In your fund development plan, be sure to create a timeline for your fundraising activities and highlight important details, such as the responsibilities of team members and campaign goals.

4. Consider External Factors

The success of a fund development plan can be impeded by factors that are simply beyond your organization’s control. 

It is essential to acknowledge ongoing developments, changes, and trends in the nonprofit sector and policies being enacted by local and federal governments. In addition to these external factors, your nonprofit might have internal limitations that prevent your team from achieving its goals. 

Consider how these factors can impact your organization’s fund development plan, and be sure to have a contingency plan in place. You may also work with a nonprofit risk assessment and management specialist to ensure your organization is prepared to make adjustments and changes if necessary.

5. Share Your Fund Development Plan with Your Team

Your fund development plan is no help if you are the only one who has seen it. You need to create buy-in from the wider team to work towards the same goals. 

Firstly, your fundraising team should be on board with the details of the fund development plan because they will work intimately on each step of the process. Next, invite those who are strategically placed to add value to different steps of the process and ask for their feedback and buy-in. These may be volunteers, board members, or program delivery coordinators.

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Keep in mind that fund development is an ongoing process for every nonprofit. Your fund development plan should guide your organization’s fundraising efforts at any given moment and ensure your team is aligned with your goals. More so, be sure to assign a team member to be in charge of your fund development plan.


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