Taken from doing and crushed by the short time to do, in the organizational contexts an essential element for an effective fundraising activity is often overlooked: planning, starting from the definition of Objectives, Goals, Strategies, Tactics …
Beyond the approaches and the definitions, the thing that matters, and which is becoming more and more fundamental, is to do good planning, planning action … call it what you want, but do it.
Often organizations have good planning and planning skills with respect to managing their services, they know how to program every single process and they work a lot using flowcharts for each procedure. Then instead, when they think of a fundraising action – be it a Christmas campaign, a 5 per thousand campaign, an awareness or people raising campaign, rather than a simple specific communication intended for members – then all the time and all dedicated resources are intended for the creation and launch/dissemination aspect of the campaign.
Little (and I’m optimistic) time is destined to link the specific action with the strategic and overall development planning of the organization, to define the objectives of the action in question, to identify the qualitative and quantitative parameters that we want to achieve, to think about the profiling and segmentation of the target … not to mention the identification of the monitoring tools or scheduling software, the evaluation of the results and the comparison with the actions already carried out in the past.
In summary, we focus on doing, on implementing an action, as if it were extraneous to the organizational context and as if it were not important to understand what impact it has on the relevant public. Each communication action generates a reaction (even when it goes unnoticed and fails to reach the target for which it was intended) and we cannot ignore it.
We must work carefully first and have defined all the aspects that can then allow us to understand if the given goal has been achieved. And if so, how effective? At what price? What other reactions did I start that I hadn’t planned? What are the optimization margins for that action that I can act when I implement it again?
The techniques and references in the literature are practically infinite regarding the planning methods, especially if we are going to decline it with respect to marketing; It is absolutely understandable that, for those who do something else in life and find themselves managing the fundraising area of a social cooperative rather than a voluntary organization in an unstructured way, it is complex to acquire specific and professional skills in this regard. However, looking for a way, a scheme, a reference model to follow that requires us to ask questions (and give answers!) before focusing on doing, before implementing a social marketing action, becomes fundamental. Here, then, every single effort made is more likely to be efficient and, if planning is made a modus operandi then efficiency is also added.
In the end then, the perception of time lost in planning that often grips those who live non-profit realities in which there are many things to do and the people who always do few of them, turns into a well-spent time, because doing without thinking anyway it costs time, maybe we put less in the immediate, but the frustration if we don’t get results (without even understanding the reason) certainly has a considerable cost!