This is what organizations tell me:
“First we add up all the expenses to carry out our mission. Then we figure out how much revenue we think is pretty reliable.” (That might be ticket sales if you’re an arts organization. Or maybe government contracts for services delivered. Or a for-sure grant from some foundation.)
“And then,” says the organization, “we figure out the gap and that’s our fundraising goal.”
Yup, the primary criteria for setting charitable contributions goal is how much the organization wants / needs to do its work.
Of course, most organizations also look at how much they’ve raised in the past. Let’s see: “Last year we raised 10% more than the previous year. So how about raising 15% more this year. Or, it’s a bad economy, so let’s just aim for raising 10% more again this year.”
Not good. Not the best way to determine your charitable contributions goal. In fact, “what your organization wants or needs” is – in some ways – just not that important.
How about those donors? How much do they care? What do they want to accomplish? And do you really think those prospects are ready to be asked? Or better yet, how about those you hope are predisposed? Just ask fast because you need money? Ugh!
Instead, set your charitable contributions goal by examining both internal and external criteria. For example, internal criteria include:
- donor-centered relationship building program
- balanced mix of solicitation strategies and sources of gifts
- board member participation to identify the predisposed, nurture relationships, and solicit gifts
- number of qualified prospects in the pipeline
- analysis of key donors to determine the likelihood of how much each one might increase his / her gift
And I have even more on my list!
Make sure you consider the external issues, for example, the economy.
And make sure that your board understands this is how an effective organization develops its budget and its charitable contributions goal.