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Overwhelmed? Underperforming? Feeling a little lost in the fundraising woods?  A fundraising roadmap might be what you need.

Creating a winning fundraising roadmap is all about proper planning and preparation—consulting stakeholders, using collected data as a guide, creating a goal-setting strategy, and adapting and refining your process as you go.

To help you create the perfect roadmap, here are some key elements that you may have forgotten to cover in your preparation. Remember that when it comes to planning, data is your friend! It lets you know what’s working and what’s not.


Identifying your segments

This is a critical part of fundraising that too many organisations skip over. Identifying and defining each donor segment early on in the process will help you to avoid problems later down the road.

Segmenting your donor list helps to make any communication more meaningful, and helps to ensure that the right people receive the right message. It may be tempting to blast everyone on your list with a generic email (a shotgun approach), but you’ll have more success using a slightly tailored email for select people.

Identifying your segments may look like looking at certain giving behaviour and grouping your supporters accordingly. For example, do they only give at certain times of the year or are they regular givers? For others, it may be more appropriate to segment according to their giving amount, or even according to the type of communications they responded to, for example, did they respond to a telemarketing cold call, or advocacy flyer, or acquisition direct mail piece? Knowing what brought them into your corner in the first place, may impact the type of material you send them in the future before going hard on the heavy fundraising appeals.

Once you’ve established your segments, it’s important to ensure all relevant stakeholders in your organisation understand and agree to these segment definitions. By establishing and understanding the criteria, you will each be able to monitor movements or changes amongst the segments and plan out campaigns accordingly.


Having a care plan for each segment

This is where you need to ensure that your donor journey is correctly structured. Their interest and awareness in your cause, conversions, even loyalty to your organisation is all guided by your care plan for each segment.

Consider someone who may be segmented as a one-time giver may be encouraged to give a second gift. The journey may include some form of a follow-up call, followed by a welcome pack in the mail before they receive their second-ask campaign.

In order to properly establish which plan works best for what segment, carefully study any gathered metrics or data. Does a certain segment respond better to email campaigns rather than calls? Have you noticed a dropoff when your email blasts are too frequent? Refine and tailor for each segment to ensure every donors’ journey is smooth sailing.


Check your development activities

Although nurturing and maintaining a segment for little attrition is vital, having a forward-thinking approach is more critical. It’s always important to be considering what next step you want that segment to take, and which marketing efforts you will put in place to help them do so.

A few important questions to consider here include:

  1. Have you planned out your one-off conversion to a Warm Donor journey?
  2. When does it occur?
  3. How do you follow up?
  4. For your Warm Donors to Mid-Value, what activities do you have in place?
  5. For your Profiled Bequest to Confirmed Bequest, what activities do you have in place?


These activities need to be planned across every calendar year and the follow-up nurture efforts need to be in place ready to go. That’s the beauty of a Fundraising Roadmap—all the activity and nurture activity is planned out well in advance, and ready to go, so you can see the big picture and identify any holes.


Get clear on what the next six months looks like

This process will take a little longer than you’d expect, so set aside dedicated time to flesh this out. Don’t invest in acquisition if you don’t have a nurture program in place ready to go. Make sure your database is set up properly in order to manage the nurture program.

Begin by asking yourself “what will the first six months of communications look like?” These communications need to be clearly defined and set in place well before you recruit your first donor.


Re-check your data, and then re-check again

Take every opportunity to examine and tweak your database. This could be as simple as checking to see if your database is correctly set up to manage your fundraising program or even just making sure that it is reflecting donations on websites and other channels in real-time.

In regards to your metrics, have you identified what you want to analyse? Do you have a monthly performance report planned and will the database extract the information you need? Who is responsible for running the analysis and determining the tweaks/changes for the next appeal/campaign?

When creating your fundraising roadmap, ensuring that you have considered these questions will make for a strong process that all relevant staff can confidently help implement.