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Staying the Course: Why you need an Annual Development Plan

July 29, 2016


I hear this all the time from people in the nonprofit world: “Our event wasn’t really successful because we just didn’t have time to plan it properly”, or “We missed the deadline; the application was just too long”, or even “The appeal letter? Oh no we didn’t get that out last month.  We were too busy.”




You were too busy to do the things that sustain you financially?  How will your nonprofit survive if you don’t focus on the tasks that bring in the money?  Equally important as the programs and services you deliver is the need to fundraise.  By fundraising I mean events, grants, annual appeals, major asks - all of it.  


So, how do you get it all done?


The key is organization and planning.  With a well developed and clear Annual Development Plan, you and those in your organization will be clear on what is happening when, what is needed for each task, and who is doing it.  Once you develop the habit of following a master plan for your fundraising, you will wonder how you lived without it.  


What if you don’t want to spend the time or money to put together an Annual Development Plan?


The essence of the plan is the scheduling.  You could start small and map it all out on a calendar.  Meet with your staff, volunteers and board members and figure out what needs to happen for the year and when.  Then simply put it on a calendar.  And get into the habit of checking the calendar regularly.   Then when you’re ready, invest the time in putting together your Annual Development Plan.


Get into the habit now of planning out your year.  This is a great time to do it and trust me, it will save you a great deal of heartache, frustration and stress later.  


(Optional: If you need help writing your Annual Development Plan, we can help.  Visit our Contact Us page.)


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