Time to Prepare a Solid Funding Strategy
As the last quarter of 2022 is closing in, it is time to start planning for next year. After consulting the organization’s strategic plan, a yearly plan should be formulated. Adjacent to this yearly plan, the annual budget is crafted. And, this is the perfect moment to draft a funding plan. Now that the organization knows what to do, when and how much it will cost, it can finally understand what the funding priorities and preferences are for the coming year.
Most non-profits rely on public and private philanthropy to develop their mission related efforts and operations. But the reality is that navigating the philanthropy landscape is a complex process, and a very long game.
There are as many fundraising strategies as human creativity allows. So, the first step is to decide what fundraising strategy to choose and focus on. Despite the multiple possibilities for fundraising, the most popular and frequent strategy is to go after grant awards. These awards can create a long-term and stable funding stream and be the first step to getting the attention of a certain major donor.
Grant proposals, however, take a considerable amount of time to write and prepare. After submitting a grant request, it will take at least 3 months to receive the award. Often it can take up to 6 months or even one year. This is why it is extremely important to have a funding plan in place, and to prepare it right now.
Many factors and variables must be taken into account in order to find the perfect match between donor, non-profit organization, and project.
These factors include verifying the giving preferences and patterns of the donor, grant cycles, and reporting requirements, among others. For non-profit organizations, decisions have to be made in order to decide what to ask for and when. Does the organization need to fund a specific project or do they need to support their operating expenses or increase their capacity? After deciding what kind of support to go after first, details must be thought through including, the amount of money needed, where exactly it will be spent, how many people will they serve, how will they measure and track their success, implementation plans and timelines, and so forth.
This can be an overwhelming process, but it is essential to the survival and growth of any organization. A solid funding plan will help the organization maximize its results. Although it might seem scary and a major undertaking, if a funding plan for the next year (or preferably for the next 18 months) is drafted now, during the start of the new year, it will serve as a roadmap to keep everyone on track, being able to prepare the grant applications with enough time and quality to achieve success.
Ana Figueiredo – VP Social Impact @ TWG