Developing a Fundraising Plan for your Church or Outreach Ministry

Published: 02nd June 2010
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Fundraising is a primary method by which churches can gain the money required to implement the programs needed to fulfill its growth and outreach goals. Fundraising events can also help raise awareness of the church and its activities through newspapers or newsletters, it can help a church establish an internet site, and it can help the church's target community. However, in order to successfully fundraise, churches should develop a comprehensive plan of action. A fundraising plan provides a description of the fundraising activities to take place during a given time period. It answers the who, what, when, where, and how of fundraising. The following steps can assist your church with developing a fundraising plan.

1.Developing your fundraising plan.

•Set goals for the amount of money you need to raise and what the money will be used for. Will you use it for overhead expenses? To fund an ongoing or new program? To build a new facility? To develop an emergency fund for a future rainy day? To close a deficit?

•If you have more than one goal, develop a fundraising plan for each goal. Goals should be developed with your board of directors, and have the board's approval. Having your board's involvement will also set the stage for their participation in the fundraising itself.

2.Write down your fundraising plan.

•Develop a written plan that states how much you need to raise, from what sources, and how you will do it. Don't worry; the plan can be revised as you proceed. Not all of your ideas will work out, or you may find new sources along the way.

3.Estimate how much your fundraising program will cost.

•Most experts recommend that fundraising and overall administrative costs not exceed 25% of your overall operating budget. In other words, three-quarters of your expenses should be spent on doing what you were founded to do.

4.Identify funding sources.

•Will you fundraise by soliciting foundation grants, government grants, special events, etc?

5.Develop a timeline for your fundraising plan.

•Fill in a year's calendar with specific activities, and identify who will be the lead for each of those projects. Go further by developing timelines for each fundraising activity, such as the direct mail campaign, the online auction, or the planned giving seminar.

6.Evaluate your fundraising plan during the year.

•Plan to evaluate what you are doing every few months. What accounted for the biggest successes? What were the biggest challenges? What fundraising methods should you change, drop, or add?

The author is a nonprofit consultant at ChurchNet USA. ChurchNet USA serves as an all-encompassing solutions and services center for faith-based organizations and ministries. For more information visit:

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