The first step in developing a fundraising plan for your ministry is understanding the state of your current fundraising activities. You have to know where you are before you try to decide where you’re going.

Here are a list of questions that will help you find yourself on the map. There’s a little math involved here, so I’ve created a little spreadsheet to help you. Hopefully, some of these questions will be an opportunity for you to see some opportunities to improve fundraising at your parish.

  1. Do you have any professional fundraising staff?
    a. How many?
  2. Does your board of directors participate in fundraising by both giving and asking others to donate?
    a. What percentage of your board donates?
    b. What percentage gives what you consider a ‘major gift’?
  3. Do you do personal ministry support fundraising (asking individuals face to face to make a long-term commitment to the ministry)?
    a. How many ministry partners do you have?
    b. How much funding do you receive monthly from your partners?
    c. How often do you communicate with your ministry partners after the initial agreement to donate?
  4. Do you use direct mail to ask for donations?
    a. How many cultivation mailings do you send per year (letters to people who have already given)?
    b. How many acquisition mailings do you send per year (letters to people who have never given or have not given in the last 24 months)?
    c. How many active donors gave to your campaigns in the last two years?
    d. What is the average gift?
    e. What is the average number of gifts per donors?
    f. Is your donor list shrinking or growing?
  5. Do you send donors and potential donors a newsletter?
    a. How many times a year?
  6. Do you use email to request donations?
    a. How many times per year?
    b. How many emails do you have on your list?
    c. What is your average open rate (the number of people who opened the email divided by the number of emails)?
    d. What is your response rate (the number of donations divided by the number of emails)?
    e. What is your average gift in response to e-mails?
  7. Do you have any online solicitations going on (examples crowd funding like GoFundMe)?
    a. How much revenue comes from online solicitations?
  8. Are you inviting donors to become monthly recurring donors?
    a. How many monthly donors do you have?
    b. How much monthly recurring revenue do you receive?
    c. What is your average monthly gift?
  9. Do you run an annual fund campaign?
    a. Is your annual campaign lead by volunteers, paid staff, or consultants?
  10. Do you have one or more staff members devoted to cultivating major gifts?
    a. How much of your revenue comes from major gifts?
    b. What percentage of your total revenue comes from major gifts?
    c. What does your organization consider a major gift?
  11. Do you have staff devoted to writing grants?
    a. How much of your revenue comes from grants? What percentage of the total?
  12. Do you have an endowment?
    a. Are you familiar with the use of endowments as a fundraising tool?
    b. Do you have a staff member devoted to cultivating planned gifts (gifts from wills to an endowment)?
  13. Do you do any phone based solicitations?
    a. How much revenue comes from your phone solicitations? What percentage of the total?
  14. Do you do any event fundraising during the year? What kind of events?
    a. How much revenue do these bring in? What percentage of the annual total?
  15. Do you have solicit corporate sponsorships?
  16. Do you use volunteers for fundraising?
  17. If you have an attached school, do you do any active cultivation of alumni, parents of alumni, or future alumni (beyond the standard tuition)?
  18. Are you thinking of running a capital campaign (a large integrated campaign for some purpose like building a building)?
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