What Is a Fundraising Action Plan?

A fundraising action plan is a plan that aims to raise money to support a certain cause or event. It lays out various details and strategies about the preparation and execution of how to go about a fundraising program or activity. 

An online article by GoFundMe paints a picture of how various initiatives were taken when worldwide lockdowns were first imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The organization noted that over 150,000 fundraisers were started and created from the period of March to May 2020 in response to the public health crisis. In the United States, New York state topped the list for the highest number of fundraisers launched. Lastly, the article noted that over half of the relief initiated by pandemic-related fundraisers were targeted to address small businesses and unemployment woes. 

Types of Fundraisers

There are all kinds of fundraising activities that people can take part in. There is also no shortage of creativity when it comes to fundraising ideas. People can think of various ways to raise money, especially in today’s increasingly interconnected and interactive world. The examples below are just some common ideas for fundraiser activities.

Marathon or Fun Run: Many companies and civic groups organize fun runs, fun walks, or marathons not just to raise funds for a particular cause, but to highlight and bring awareness to it. For example, a non-profit organization that advocates children with autism and other special needs organizes a fundraiser not just to raise money for their advocacy but to spread awareness about autism, educate people on it, and possibly even bring to light the issues and challenges they are facing. Marathons and fun runs are perfect activities for families and groups of friends wherein they can get fit together and support a cause together all at the same time. Tournament: Another popular way to raise funds is by hosting a tournament or competition. A lot of people enjoy competitive sports and contests; and basically any organization can organize an event that speaks to this. There are your usual sports events like basketball, golf, or chess tournaments. But there are also activities that challenge mental prowess such as quiz bowls or spelling bees. Tournaments are a fun way to bring people together and showcase people’s talents and abilities. Auction: Auctions are popular in the art world because there are collectors, patrons and enthusiasts who actively support it because of their love and interest for art. It can be a potent fundraising activity when proceeds of the art auction end up for a good cause, especially since paintings and works of art normally come with a high price tag. Silent auctions are another variation too. However, it’s important to note that not all auctions are exclusively for art; essentially anything of value that can be bought and sold can be turned into an auction event. Concert: A fun way to raise funds is by bringing people together through music. Getting together various artists and musicians for a cause is sure to garner support from a lot of people. The logistics and organization of it may be a challenge, but the fulfillment that comes afterward seems to outweigh all the negative cons. If a concert may be too big an event, a simple talent show can also be a great way to raise money and awareness. Inviting the community to showcase their different talents for a good cause is essentially hitting two birds with one stone. Exhibitions: In relation to auctions, an exhibit can also be an interesting fundraising activity. Money can be raised through the entrance fees or tickets you sell to people that visit the exhibit. These can be done in spaces like galleries and museums; although it does not have to be grand or extravagant. For instance, a group of artists looking to raise some funds for a foundation can organize a simple exhibit to displays their work and art pieces. Online Donation: Since everything is basically online nowadays, you might as well use the internet to your advantage. Crowdfunding and online solicitations are popular practices. There are many platforms now that allow you to easily create donation forms and reach out to a wider network of people. You can have people choose how much they want to donate with a predesigned form. Applications such as Google Docs and Google Forms make it a lot easier and faster to create your own donation form. Sales: Another fundraising idea is selling a product or offering a service. Bake sales and car washes for-a-cause are popular because they are relatively easier to manage than organizing a full blown concert. These types of activities are not just limited to cookies and brownies, you can essentially sell anything that’s food or non-food such as custom made t-shirts. If you want a simple activity and are looking to organize something that is not too time-consuming, consider selling a product or service for a cause.

Strategies for Creating a Fundraising Action Plan

Fundraising is not as easy as it looks. Mainstream media may portray it in a straightforward and simple way. But the planning and preparation and everything else that goes on behind the scenes to execute a fundraiser is anything but easy. The tips below are a compilation of simple but effective strategies you can use when crafting a fundraising action plan of your own.

Know your donors. Seeking donations from willing benefactors can be quite challenging without the proper game plan. You are essentially asking for money straight from their pockets. This is why it is crucial to scout and survey your potential donors. Draw up a list or a plan of who you think will make good benefactors. Do your research on the backgrounds of these individuals or companies before sending out a formal donation request. For instance, if you are looking for sponsors for the construction of a building, you cannot just go blindly and unprepared when tapping potential donors for their help. Assess your resources. It is important to have a realistic assessment of the resources that are available to you. You need an idea of how much you have so you will be able to paint a better picture of your needs. Resources can include manpower, technology, and finances and that will aid your objective of soliciting support and funds. If you have a solid assessment of these, it will put you in a much better position to make informed decisions. To illustrate, if you are planning to launch a concert for-a-cause, there is obviously some expense involved. The concert logistics and planning require significant resources to mobilize and actually execute the event. Delegate the work. Almost all events and activities require teamwork and collaborative effort. Fundraisers are no exception. To succeed in implementing your fundraising action plan, you need a reliable team to support you. Choosing the right people that will make up your team is absolutely vital. You need to form a team of different people who can contribute in their own way. For example, if your fundraising program requires technical and logistical support, you need members who are suited to the job or have experience in the field. Delegating the work is perhaps one of the most important tasks of any program or project manager. Get creative. Do not be content with just replicating a typical fundraising activity. You can choose to be creative and modify traditional fundraisers to suit your specific needs and preferences. Be open to brainstorming different ideas and allow yourself to think outside the box. Not content with just a regular 3 mile fun run? Add an interesting twist by making it a themed run or a ‘cosplay’ marathon. The possibilities are endless when you dare to go beyond what’s familiar.

How to Create a Fundraising Action Plan

To create a fundraising action plan, there are several elements that ought to be included in the plan. And if you are looking for a faster way to get things done, using an existing template can save you a lot of time and energy. The sample action plans above are designed to help you customize your own fundraiser plan. Simply download one and follow the step-by-step guide below. 

Step 1: Establish Your Objectives

Always being an action plan with your objectives. What is the aim of the fundraiser you want to launch? Why is it important to raise funds? What is the core mission of it all? You need to have a clear assessment of your objectives and goals before creating any action strategy. An objective will serve as your why and your guide that could potentially help you see the fundraising project through, especially when you’re faced with challenges and trials.  

Step 2: Set a Target Amount 

A fundraising program is pretty straightforward in that it seeks monetary support for whatever cause or event. Because it involves funds, your action plan should have a clear idea of how much money is needed. Make sure to indicate and set a target amount in your action plan. This needs to be established early on because it will determine how much effort and planning will go into the fundraising activity. For example, if the target amount exceeds thousands of dollars, obviously more preparation (and possibly even a longer duration) will go into the event.  

Step 3: Outline the Action Items 

Perhaps the main section of your action plan are the action items themselves. You need to clearly outline the steps and strategies that will enable you to accomplish your objectives and target amount. These action items should cover everything from the initial planning to manpower, to shifts and schedules. As previously mentioned, delegation of tasks is important too. Just because there are multiple action items on your list, it does not mean you should do it all yourself. Assign different people to different tasks to really make it a collaborative effort.  

Step 4: Set a Deadline

The last step is to create a timeline for accomplishing your fundraising goals. Whether it is a week-long fundraising activity or a big charity event, having a deadline creates a sense of urgency and accountability for the team. For each action item, you can assign a deadline for it. This way, it is also easier for you to follow through the steps one by one and avoid getting overwhelmed in the process. It is imperative to have success metrics or indicators; and the ability to deliver on time can be one of them. Further, make sure you track any progress and development. You can use a basic Excel spreadsheet to monitor donations and all incoming funds.  


What should be included in a fundraising action plan?

Your fundraising plan should always specify your objectives, target amount, action items, plans, strategies, schedules, and even contingencies. Indicate specific details such as the date and time of the fundraiser, its duration, location, estimated number of participants, then assign tasks to each organizer as well.

What are the five activities of fundraising?

According to GoFundMe, there are several ideas for community fundraisers that you can engage in. These include creating and sharing a fundraiser page, hosting offline events, seeking the help of local businesses, sponsoring group events, and collecting donations for school fundraising. All of these are great if you want to focus on smaller and intimate communities.

What is the purpose of a fundraising plan?

The purpose of a fundraising action plan is to create strategies and figure out the best way to reach a certain goal. In the case of fundraisers, the goal would be to garner monetary support in order to finance an advocacy, a group, or an organization.

Fundraising activities require the right planning and preparation. If you want to maximize your efforts, you need to craft a sound and solid fundraising action plan. Browse the sample fundraising action plans above and choose a template that meets your needs.