As 2020 winds down, you might be asking, ‘should I even bother to make a development plan for 2021?’
I think YES!
Now is exactly the time to make a plan for moving forward.
Here is why I think you should make a development plan:
You will set goals for more than dollars raised.
The only measurement of development is NOT dollars raised. You should also be measuring donor retention, new donors, contacts made to deepen engagement, board and volunteer involvement in fundraising. Create a development plan that addresses all of the key performance indicators you identify.
You can activate everyone on your development team: fundraising staff, CEO, board members and volunteers.
Development is a team sport and now more than ever, you need the whole team working toward the same goals. Use your development plan to confirm who is doing what and when. Include goals and activities for everyone working on raising the funds your organization needs to accomplish the mission.
You will know that things are changing and your plan can change.
Even in times of uncertainty, maybe especially in times of uncertainty, you will benefit from having a plan that provides a starting point for adjustments. Your development plan should be written down but not in permanent ink. Go into it knowing that you’ll be making changes throughout the year.
You can make hard decisions about where to focus limited resources.
This year we’ve overused the word “pivot” so we know that there will be tough choices ahead. If you are facing budget cuts, a development plan allows you to see the impact of reduction and make the best choices. A well-researched and thorough development plan addresses those changes.
You will document uncertainties.
Making a plan will allow you to note what is uncertain and set deadlines to make decisions about those. A plan doesn’t do away with unknowns but it can relieve some of the anxiety by putting them out in the open.
Now is the time to take a clear-eyed look at the future and make a 2021 development plan that will serve your organization and the people who depend on it.