Getting Ready to Plan–Planning to Fundraise

I’m getting ready to leave for 2 weeks in Rome.  I know, it really is a tough life.  But I hate

Piazza Navona – Rome

to travel.  Not going to new places. That I rather enjoy.  Not seeing new things.  That is exhilarating and yes, fun.  But the planning, packing, getting there (and then doing it all in reverse) almost defeats me.   The getting ready sometimes is so daunting we never actually get off the dime.

For some, it’s never getting past the planning to plan whatever it is they need or want to do.  For others it’s just avoiding any planning at all.  And for some, it’s constantly getting sidetracked by all that could be done, perhaps should be done, might be done that they never focus enough to get any part of it done.

Does any of this sound like you or your organization?

If so, here’s what you are going to do:

  • Pick a destination.  Any destination.  This year we will improve our donor retention by 15%. That’s a pretty good destination.  Or We will build our donor pool by 100 more prospects. Yours might be broader, a bigger stretch, or just the opposite—smaller, closer to get to.  It doesn’t matter.  Just decide where you are going to go.
  • Consider your resources and decide how you are going to do that.  Each week, our Board members will write personal thank you notes to every single donor for every single gift, and in that note, we will tell the donor why his or her gift matters so very much. That’s doable. Every month we will add 10 new names to our pool. These will be new people we meet (and yes, “we” includes but is not exclusive to the board), have read about, used to have as a donor.  All that is pretty doable, also.   The next step is harder–ensuring it gets done.
  • Establish a way to measure your accomplishments.  We’ll address the envelopes, and ask the Board members to drop off the notes for us to mail. A little clunky, but hey…whatever will work.
  • Celebrate each success, no matter how small.  At each Board meeting, we will make a big deal out of every follow-on gift we get and every new name we add. That would serve two purposes—you’d be celebrating success and making Board members feel that their work had value (which, by the way, it does).

Once you get this under your belt, try a little side trip or another destination.  Pretty soon, you’ll have a plan.  And while it may not be Rome, it will be a very bene thing to do.

Janet Levine works with nonprofits, helping them go from mired to inspired.  Learn how Janet can help you increase your fundraising capacity and ignite your board at While there, sign up for the newsletter and contact Janet to schedule your free, 30 minute consultation


About janetlevineconsulting

For over 20 years, Janet Levine has worked for and with nonprofit and educational organizations, helping to grow their advancement programs. Her consulting company, Janet Levine Consulting, serves a wide range of organizations from small, all-volunteer agencies to major national organizations. She regularly teaches courses in non-profit management, fundraising and grant development, both face-to-face and online at In addition to her nonprofit work, Janet brings years of experience as a business and sales manager in the for-profit sector. She has an MBA from the Graziadio School of Business at Pepperdine University.
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