Strategic Plan

Your Strategic Annual Giving Plan: 3 Tips to Success

There are many intricacies and complexities when it comes to annual giving. Due to the strategic elements that go into annual giving, success often begins with having an organized annual giving plan. An annual giving plan helps compile short- and long-term goals, schedule yearly initiatives, allocate time effectively and efficiently, adhere to a budget, and ultimately alleviate some of the complexities that can arise.

You might be thinking, “I have all of those elements – how can I optimize my annual giving plan?”

Here are 3 tips and tricks to enhance your strategic annual giving plan:

  1. MAKE SURE YOU DRAFT A SCHEDULE: This is one of the most important aspects of an annual giving plan. It helps you lay out what the initiative is, who will be targeted, what the goal is, and the timeframe of when the initiative will be executed. This not only helps with staying on track throughout the year, but it also helps with the analysis following the campaign. Sometimes, in the grand scheme of things, it’s easy to get off track from an original plan. Having a draft schedule in place is a central resource for your team to refer back to so you can make sure that all initiatives are executed to reach your goals.
  2. ANALYZE THE PREVIOUS FISCAL YEAR’S SUCCESS AND AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT: When you look back on your campaigns and initiatives, you can analyze what worked best and what might need improvement. It’s OK if a campaign didn’t work exactly as planned, as long as you understand why it didn’t work and adjust accordingly. Some questions to help guide you with your analysis are
    • Did we have consistent branding across the organization? Was it consistent across different platforms? Was the messaging clear?
    • Did we use variable data to personalize the ask? How did we segment this? Did we segment the data properly to target the right people with the proper message?
    • What channels did we use to have an integrated campaign – direct mail, email, social media, and a telephone push? Did we leverage video through these channels? What else did we do?
    • Did we incorporate a challenge, giving day, or event? How did we promote it prior to the day and what was the follow up after?
    • Do we have the most updated data for our community, supporters, patients, alumni, family, and/or friends that we target?
    • How did we thank our donors? Did we do a second ask at the same time? Do the donors feel appreciated?
  3. ALLOCATE YOUR TIME WISELY: As the saying goes, “[There is] so much to do and so little time.” If you have ever thought or said this, you are not alone. The good news is that there are external resources that can help you and your team manage all of the moving parts, so you can focus on other initiatives at the same time. BCG Connect partners with clients to act as an extension of their team with a focus on helping clients identify, acquire, and retain their donors. Connect with us to learn more about how we can be a strategic resource for your team.

An annual giving plan can bring so much value to your organization. If you’re thinking, “Well, my year has already started so I guess we’ll have to wait until next year to develop a plan,” that’s not the case! You can develop an annual giving plan at any time because a late plan is better than no plan.

If you need a creative direct marketing partner who knows best practices in the education, healthcare, and nonprofit markets, BCG Connect is your strategic resource. For more than a decade, BCG Connect has been successful in partnering with our clients to create a personalized, custom approach to their marketing and fundraising initiatives, targeting the right people, with an effective message to reach their prospective and current donors. Connect with us to learn more!

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BCG Staff Writer