How to create a fundraising strategic plan for your organisation

Written by Nimo Ahmed Ali, Program Manager at Network against FGM in Somaliland (NAFIS)

Please describe a situation when your organisation or project faced the need to develop a fundraising strategic plan.

NAFIS could only implement its activities if it could secure enough funding from foreign donors to do so. Many concept notes and proposals were written and sent to many donors. But, what came back from most donors was a question about how our concept note or proposal fitted the NAFIS Strategic plan as well as the organisation’s Fundraising Strategic plan. At that time NAFIS didn’t have a Fundraising Strategic Plan.

How did you work on this problem and what changes did you make?

We identified a fundraising and resource mobilisation expert who with my office quickly thought about how to develop a Fundraising and Resource Mobilisation Strategic Plan. As a key part of this we:

  • Came up with the fundraising mission and vision statements
  • Assessed how the outside world viewed our organisation
  • Refined our image in society
  • Assessed NAFIS’ fundraising and resource mobilisation strengths and weaknesses.

Next, we evaluated our programmes and services and gave each a clear and precise description. We also made our organisation more visible through developing slogans, case studies and through the use of social and print media. Then, we gathered all of the descriptive materials together and using the Fundraising Action Plan we’d developed we started fundraising.

What did you achieve?

The Fundraising Strategy and Plan helped us to create a vision-driven organisation that was practical in its approach. They helped ensure our organisation was fully committed to going down a particular path with a view to achieving a certain measurable result and gave us an organised way of fundraising and resource mobilisation. This gave the donors the confidence to fund us as they could see we were a sustainable, forward-thinking organisation that is going to survive in the long-term. The Strategy and Plan demonstrated that we had, and have, what it takes to succeed.

What did you learn from this experience?

We learned that fundraising and resource mobilisation in organisations that don’t follow any laid down plan or strategy are bound to fail and if in any case one happens to bring in some funding; that funding is not sustainable. Also, we learned that activities in the organisational strategic plan must be done in tandem with attached fundraising activities that will raise the funds and resources needed to implement the activities. Fundraising and resource mobilisation strategic and action plans are important as they create a clear path to be followed and can be evaluated at any time. Therefore, having a fundraising and resource mobilisation strategy and action plan helps guide the organisation, ensuring that there are funds and resources to take it forward.

What are your tips for someone facing the same or similar issues?

  1. If you committed to developing a fundraising strategy, consider using external expertise if you need it and include this element in proposal budgets under capacity building. You can explain the value and sustainable impacts this would have. If you cannot do this, following the example of NAFIS and use their template to help guide your thinking.
  2. Have a fundraising and resource mobilisation strategy and action plan which is aligned to the organisational strategic plan.
  3. Do donor mapping both locally and internationally.
  4. Have all staff in the organisation knowledgeable about fundraising and resource mobilisation.
  5. Knowledge is power – the organisation must be a learning organisation.
  6. Organisations must have a fall-back plan (local fundraising) in case international funding does not happen.

Do you have any photos or documents that would help or inspire another organisation or group facing the same problems?

Attached is a NAFIS Fundraising and Resource Mobilisation Strategy and Action Plan.

NAFIS hired a fundraising expert who worked with my office to execute the Fundraising and Resource Mobilisation Strategy and Action Plan.

Nimo Ahmed Ali, Program Manager at Network against FGM in Somaliland (NAFIS)

Nimo Ahmed Ali is a Program Manager at NAFIS NETWORK, Hargeisa, Somaliland. She joined the organisation in April 2017 and prior to that was a Program Development Manager at the National Health Professions Commission (NHPC) Somaliland four years. Before joining NHPC, Nimo was a Senior Project Officer at Humanity Inclusion (previously Handicap International), Somaliland. Nimo is also an experienced freelance consultant and since 2008 has worked on a variety of initiatives including Somaliland Youth Voter’s Education training for HYDA; Sexual Reproductive Health and Gender Based Violence trainings for SONYO; Behavior Change Communication training and Community Enhance training for HAVAYOCO; training on Coalition building specifically for women living with HIV for Action Aid International, and Girls Empowerment Forum training for Mercy Corp.

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