How to develop a fundraising strategy

How to develop a fundraising strategy

By Wendy Smithers


This guide will take you through the seven key steps in the fundraising strategy cycle and provide you with the essential ingredients of a good fundraising strategy.


Once you've identified your artistic and business objectives, a fundraising strategy is a vital tool in helping you achieve those objectives. Without a shared sense of what you're aiming to do, how much it costs, how you'll find the money and who will find and secure it your job will be much harder. So no need to be put off by the term strategy - it's simply a map to help us identify what financial resources we need and how we'll get them without wasting valuable time and resources.

Fundraising Strategy Cycle

This guide will take you through the 7 key points in the fundraising strategy cycle:

1. Fundraising Audit

We'll start with a fundraising audit: a snapshot of what's worked in the past and what hasn't, how your fundraising is working now and how that compares with similar organisations (you can delve deeper into fundraising audits by looking at my separate guide on fundraising audits - also available on CultureHive).

2. Vision and Programme

The money follows your vision and programme so it's vital that it is clear from the outset as it guides your whole strategy; it also prevents you getting pulled off course chasing money that is not the best fit for you.

3. Target and timescale

Once your programme is clear, you can define your financial target - how much it costs, what the shortfall is and how you will reach it; timescale is crucial as people don’t always leave enough time to do the fundraising or they underestimate the time between submitting a bid and getting an answer.

4. SWOT and risks

Before we get into the detail of how we'll reach the target we look at our SWOT - meaning our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats - and at the risks that face our fundraising. By better understanding both these areas - SWOT and risk - our strategy will be better informed and therefore more likely to succeed.

5. Potential sources of funding

Next we look at the potential sources of funding available to us; what are the various ways money could meet the shortfall and what are the implications of sourcing and servicing these types of monies?

6. Best use of resources available

Once we know the total potential and the work and expertise required, we can match that to the people and resources available to us and decide whether resources should be reallocated or whether we need new, more or different resources. Some fundraisers like to switch these two sections around ie considering first the resource we have and then what types of funding we can get with that resource BUT this may prevent you thinking of or finding new avenues to money. Once you know what the full potential is and have assessed all opportunities then you can apply the available resource to maximise it.

7. Create and action your plan

Once you've done all that you can create and action your plan - a plan that is continually monitored and updated rather than something static. It will need to adapt to changes within your organisation, the success of your approach and new and ever changing funding opportunities.

Download the guide to read more

Resource type: Guide/tools | Published: 2015