Budget like you mean it

May 12, 2016

So you could just say, we’ve been asked to turn in a 5% increase next year, and leave it at that. But for your program to achieve maximum value, there is a better way.

A fundraising budget should always be built from the ground up, initiative-by-initiative.

It begins with a list of impact factors – what’s happening inside your organization that may affect revenue both positively or negatively, and what’s likely to happen in the outside world.

Perhaps you’re launching a new brand and marketing campaign that will build awareness and help boost your fundraising campaigns. Maybe a new program is being started that donors are likely to support. Possibly the economy is changing, or jobs in your community are on an up- or down-swing. Or you might be concerned about the increasing noise of the upcoming election.

Once you’ve developed your list of impact factors, look at your own initiatives.

Have you gained a large number of monthly sustainers for example? This will change your cash flow as well as your traditional direct mail program, with fewer donors available to solicit by direct mail. Has your email list grown, or perhaps you have a new, stronger donation platform that will help increase this revenue line item? Will you launch any new initiatives, and will expectations be low or high in the first year? Are there any increased or decreased expenses or new investments that should be calculated into the net projection?

Only after you do this vital work of fully assessing your program and mapping out the likely road ahead, can you effectively plan for the strongest possible revenue picture – built on reality — with a clear path to success.