• Deanna Ackerman

Program Growth VS Fundraising



It's great to have big dreams of growing your programs and expanding into new areas. But what happens when your fundraising can't keep up with your dreams?


Chaos, confusion, and staff turn-over. Here are a few tips to avoid this pitfalls of growth.


(1) Before you start to plan for program growth, get a development audit done. The audit will disclose where your strengths and weaknesses in your fundraising program are at.


(2) Conduct a baseline assessment of all of your fundraising programs. Project what funding is available to support the project and if there are any new prospects available.


(3) Get board buy-in so you can get their time and financial support.


(4) Don’t commit to anything related to the program unless you have at least 85% of the funding secured or committed.


(5) Plan for the worst! What if you get half-way into the project and you have most of the money but can’t raise the rest. Do you have your Plan B, Plan C, and even Plan D to scale it down or scrap it?


Too often CEOs will say, “Well, we JUST have to make this happen. Go find the money!” And then, the development director begins to get nervous, feel pressured, and the rest is history because she leaves her job. It’s just not that easy to grow. You can put the most amazing program plans in place, but if the fundraising can’t keep up, you won’t be successful. There’s needs to be a cadence to your program growth, one that aligns with the fundraising.


Keep that in mind as you being to dream big about where you want to go in the coming years. Have a real heart-to-heart, sit down with your development director and ask what is realistic. That’s how you’ll grow and be successful!


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