The Importance of Planning

Jul 16, 2021

As a fundraiser, you know how to do your job. And you’re getting some results. But do you ever stop and think: ‘Can I be doing better?’

It’s a common thought among fundraisers. It’s what we do and it’s who we are. Especially when there are so many things your organization could be doing better if you had more funding.

Sometimes, we’re so deep in the weeds of our day to day that it’s difficult to then pull up to look at the whole fundraising house from the required 60,000 feet. 

But that’s where we need to go if we’re going to make the changes required to get better results.

So why pull up to view everything that you’re doing when you know what needs changing?


  • We make one or two changes that can help in the short term...but don’t make any long-term impacts
  • We don’t have time to look at the strategy because our to do lists are long
  • We know in our heads what needs to change but executing it is a different story...
  • We track what we can do by building a budget and sticking to it...instead of reaching for more

If you were nodding your head to any of the statements above, you’re not alone!

But… that’s the value of planning…you see the big picture.

 You are able to look at all of your work in its entirety and see...

> how to build on past successes and course correct what may not be working

> what new strategies to implement that will create another revenue stream for your organization

> how to raise more money from the initiatives you are currently pursuing

> whether the systems and processes you have in place support your fundraising goals

> if your plan reflects your organizational values

> how to build an organizational structure that supports philanthropy

And you’re able to tie it all together to drive greater results for your charity.

Because that’s what it’s really all about.

Raising more money for your charity.

More money = more impact. And more impact benefits your charity and its mandate and our society as a whole.

And we all need more of that!

To get to this point though, you start with the greatest document you may or may not possess – the fundraising plan.

And as we seem to be making headway with COVID and opening up cautiously, it’s even more important to review what you’re doing today to improve your results tomorrow.

But developing the plan itself is tricky business.

As fundraisers, we can make the following mistakes:

  • Not building on prior successes
  • Not planning the resources needed
  • Not being realistic about what you can achieve
  • Not identifying your overarching goals
  • Not looking at new fundraising initiatives you could introduce
  • Not implementing the systems required to track your results
  • Not building in reporting and metrics
  • Not developing a budget that aligns with your plan
  • And more…

You may be thinking…’I have a plan so do I throw the baby out with the bathwater?(who came up with that idiom?!)


You don’t throw out everything you’ve done to date in favour of a shiny, brand new plan. You look at what you can keep and what you can incorporate that’s new and build from there. 

Interested in knowing more about planning? We'll be offering our flagship program again in Fall 2021. 

Sign up to our waitlist for Planning with Purpose, the 8-week program developed by fundraisers for fundraisers. In 8 weeks you'll learn to create, communicate and carry out an achievable and adaptable plan that will increase the impact of your fundraising efforts now and well into the future. 


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