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6 Things You Need for Your First Nonprofit Fundraising Plan

So you’ve got your new nonprofit organization up and running. Website, maybe some social media, a sketch of the programs you’ll offer, your budget… Now it’s time to start spending all that money you’ve got!

Two women writing on a white board hammering out the details of their first nonprofit fundraising plan!

*record scratch* ...Oh. Wait.

So who’s ready to fundraise?! 

Once you’ve got the budget for your new nonprofit ready, it’s time to start bringing that money in. For this, you’ll need to create your first nonprofit fundraising plan. Along with your budget, this will be a document that serves as a roadmap for your first year of operation.

How to create your first nonprofit fundraising plan

No, all of your money is not going to come from Oprah. (If you haven’t heard that one yet, just wait – you will!)

A quick foray into “how to raise money for a new nonprofit” will give you more options than you’ll know what to do with. How can you do all of the things?! 

You can’t.

And honestly? You shouldn’t. 

But here are six things you both can and should do when putting together a fundraising plan for your new nonprofit.

01. Choose your fundraising methods

There are just about one million different ways you can bring money into your nonprofit. Not all of them will make sense for you – but a lot of them might. The key is to choose a small handful that you have the time and resources to tackle. A great writer might jump right into grants or appeal letters; a budget-conscious event planner might gravitate toward some small-scale get-togethers that whip up excitement for new donors.

02. Create a fundraising calendar

Important dates for the year might include holidays or themes to fundraise around, funder due dates, and donor events. Include timelines to keep in mind (important for your cash flow projections!), and use a tool like Google Calendar to set up notifications that will keep you on track.

03. Solicit major gifts

Drum up a few major gifts from donors in your network. These can start you off on the right foot and create ambassadors for your organization. Consider using these contributions for a match campaign; additional donors will be more likely to give to your organization once they know others have vouched for you.

04. Think about evaluation

Donors and funders like results, and often, they’ll want to see them before they hand over their money. What can you do to provide proof of concept? And how will you demonstrate success? Is it the number of people through your doors, or the amount of meals you’ll serve this year? Or will you run a progress that measures participant growth from beginning to end? Make these decisions before you ask for funding.

There’s more! Get access to the extended version of this article and lots of other great resources by joining THE LAUNCHPAD – the Center for Nonprofit Advancement’s membership program brings regular tips, tricks, and best practices to nonprofit leaders across the country! We'd love to have you join us!

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