Running a successful fundraising operation is like running a successful business; both require detailed planning in order to succeed.  Without a detailed fundraising plan in place, your campaign is doomed to mediocre financial success, at best, and dismal financial return, at worst. 

Of course, many campaigns ask the question, “Why can’t I just raise money from wherever I can get it?  Why do I need a plan?”  Many campaigns believe that they can get by without a plan, by replicating past successes or relying on old-hands to carry out their fundraising operation.  While having an experienced pro on board will help any campaign operation, fundraising campaigns that don’t have detailed plans are at a distinct disadvantage.

Below are just a few of the reasons why a detailed fundraising plan is critical for each and every campaign:

1.  Provides organization – a detailed fundraising plan creates organization and order in the chaotic world of campaign finance.

2.  Defines responsibilities – a fundraising plan determines who does what, and adds accountability to your fundraising campaign.

3.  Sets deadlines – a good fundraising plan tells you when you need the money.  Deadlines help motivate your team to perform.

4.  Provides a credible fundraising tool – when an investor purchases a business, he or she wants to see the financials that prove the company can be a success.  Often, it’s no different for major political contributors.  Your fundraising plan shows why you need the money and lets them know you are serious about winning the election.

5.  Measures progress – a detailed fundraising plan lets you measure your fundraising progress, thus allowing you to make needed adjustments before it is too late.

Sit down with your team and begin developing your comprehensive fundraising plan today.  Your plan should include a complete list of expenses the campaign intends to incur, a dollar amount that will serve as your goal to meet those expenses, a plan for raising the donations to meet your goal, and a timeline showing when you will need to raise the money, when expenses will occur, and when fundraising activities are planned.

Plan today, and you’ll not only raise more money down the road, but you’ll also be able to effectively manage costs, set deadlines, measure progress and organize your fundraising team.