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Becoming a strategic fundraiser: the power of a multi-year action plan

Why Strategic Fundraising Matters

At Flametree Fundraising, we have noticed a blind spot in how organizations approach fundraising: many get caught up in writing project-based proposals, and forget to develop an overall strategic framework or plan. A multi-year action plan is a powerful tool that can bridge this gap.

Treat your whole organisation as a fundable project 

To become skilled fundraisers, organizations need to shift away from pressured, ad hoc fundraising, towards a more strategic approach. Surprisingly, few organizations have a comprehensive action plan that outlines their activities over the next three to five years. This lack of long-term planning often leaves critical core activities under-resourced, creating a pressured fundraising environment. 

Moving beyond project-based fundraising to strategic fundraising is a paradigm shift that requires embracing a comprehensive view of your organization's funding needs. This requires projecting your whole organisation, with clear outcomes over a five year period. When you have your five-year plan down on paper, a donor can decide to invest in you at this catalytic level. This type of problem-solving investment is only possible when you have clearly spelled out your longer-term plan. 

Why an Action Plan is Crucial

A multi-year action plan serves as a strategic framework that communicates to donors how their investments will drive impact. A plan helps you to describe not only what your organization aims to achieve but also how it plans to get there. When the full scope of your strategy is clear, donors are more likely to support high-impact projects and the essential, yet often overlooked, core activities.

Highlighting Core Activities

Core costs, such as administrative expenses, salaries, and team capacity building, are critical for delivering on your impact goals. By integrating these activities into your action plan, you outline the full spectrum of your organization's needs, increasing the likelihood that funders will contribute to these fundamental expenses.

Enhancing Your Activity Framework

As you develop your multi-year action plan, consider these critical questions to strengthen your overall framework:

  • Stakeholder Collaboration: Specifically, which stakeholders do you need to collaborate with or influence to get the results you want? Identifying key stakeholders and understanding their influence can optimize your strategy and increase your impact.

  • Effective Communication: What are the best ways of communicating your research findings or recommendations to different stakeholders? Tailoring your communication strategy to fit the needs and preferences of key stakeholder groups ensures that your message is clear and encourages action.

  • Innovative Approaches: Do your partners have fresh ideas for activities that take your project beyond ‘business as usual’? Encouraging innovation and incorporating new ideas can enhance the effectiveness of your plan and keep your organization ahead of the curve.

  • Scalability: Are you piloting an approach that could be replicated in other contexts? Consider the scalability of your strategies to maximize impact and attract funders interested in broader, systemic change.

The future of fundraising lies in strategic, holistic approaches that recognize the interconnectedness of projects and core activities. By adopting a multi-year action plan, your organization can present a compelling narrative to donors, highlighting the broader strategy that underpins your mission. Download and use our free planning tool to support your journey toward transformative impact.

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