When your California nonprofit started up, your fundraising likely started as an ad hoc process, with intense campaigns followed by slow periods. As your nonprofit grows its operations and adds staff, support and volunteers, you’ll feel an increasing need to make your fundraising ongoing. However, California nonprofit audit providers want you to realize it’s difficult to maintain momentum without creating a strategic fundraising plan that you can rely on when you’re focusing on other matters.
Here’s how to make the transition from ad hoc to ongoing fundraising:
1. Build on your experience
To create a reliable fundraising campaign, you need a solid committee of board members who are knowledgeable about their fiduciary duties, including your executive director and key staffers. It’s good to also include major donors and active community members.
Your committee members should start by reviewing past sources of funding and fundraising approaches and examining the pros and cons of each, taking into consideration any information pointed out by tax & audit services you nonprofit might’ve used. Even if your fundraising efforts weren’t notably successful, some sources and approaches might be worth keeping. Next, brainstorm new sources and methods, then compare the old and new and select those with the greatest potential.
After brainstorming, outline the roles board members will have in fundraising efforts. For example, they can be responsible for connecting to specific corporate and individual supporters.
2. Create an action plan
Once the committee knows their roles and responsibilities, and has a plan for seeking funds, they can create a fundraising budget for operating expenses, staff costs and volunteer projections. After the plan and budget are approved by the board, create an action plan and assign tasks to board members.
Once the plan is in motion, regularly evaluate it and adapt it to unexpected changes and situations. Though new fundraising initiatives should have time to succeed, don’t shy away from cutting losses if an approach clearly isn’t working.
3. Maintain a strong cash flow
Don’t wait until your nonprofit’s funds are nearly dry before starting a fundraising campaign. Fundraising should be ongoing and constantly evolving, maintaining a strong cash flow.
Contact Ernst Wintter & Associates for a California nonprofit audit. We provide tax & audit services for broker dealers, 401k accounts, nonprofits, and businesses located in California.