Long-Range Fundraising Planning can be seen as a Strategic Plan for Development. The net fundraising goal is the mission. The plan looks carefully at sources of funds and at the activities designed to attract and solicit those funds. And it looks at who is and should be involved in the process.

Strategic Development Planning

Fund development (active, strategic cultivation and solicitation of individual funding decision-makers) is the work of board directors. Each director has a role to play in the process, as does the Executive Director. Their collective work in the regard is best organized and facilitated by members of the Development Committee and supported by staff. Staff can also be expected to handle as much of the routine and logistical work as possible so that the directors’ time and effort can be highly leveraged.


I recognize that not all organizations are built with these systems in place, but I approach planning with the idea that the role expectations of staff, directors, and other volunteers will be clearly spelled out in the planning document.


Initial Planning Session(s) – An initial planning session is typically designed to include the entire organization – all board directors and all development staff. In preparation, a Development Audit Report, Strategic Plan, and any related schedules and analytical information is given as “homework.” I explicitly look for clarity on the Strategic Planning Goals. What will it cost to complete the work detailed in the Strategic Plan? And what will the operating budget need to be five years from now?


The objectives of the planning session will be to:

  • Review the goals in the Strategic Plan and the recommendations in the Development Audit;
  • Identify and challenge current assumptions about fund development, including roles and responsibilities;
  • Identify and prioritize strategic issues, questions, and planning directions;
  • Propose a draft set of five-year fund development strategies and measurable goals; and
  • Identify strengths and weaknesses, opportunities, and obstacles to achieving these goals.


Five-Year Planning Document – I then propose action steps to fulfill the objectives, establish benchmarks/targets for progress, assign time frames and entities responsible for implementation (at least for year one), and propose an implementation budget.



Strategic Development Planning helps an organization quantify what it will take in terms of resources necessary to accomplish mission objectives. This exercise alone can help make the impossible seem possible. Having a long-term vision, benchmarking important metrics, and ensuring there are resources sufficient to raising the funds can help everyone begin to see their individual actions as contributing toward a larger whole. It is often surprising what is actually possible once fundraising is demystified and everyone comes together around a common language and vision.



I base my fee on an estimate of days required on site and estimated travel expenses from Madison, Wisconsin. The fee is typically in the $3,750-5,250 range plus travel. Not having a Development Audit to work from adds $1,500 to the fee for database analytical work prior to planning.