You already have your cause calendar to stay on top of the most relevant dates dedicated to particular causes worldwide, and now it's time to pull together a comprehensive fundraising calendar. Fundraising calendars are an amazing internal tool nonprofits and their fundraising teams can use to keep track of which events and marketing campaigns are happening and when. This post provides advice on how to create a fundraising calendar—and how to make sure it’s realistic, effective, and correctly formatted—as well as resources for a calendar template.
Why is a Fundraising Calendar Important?
Fundraising calendars play a crucial role in the success of nonprofits and other organizations. A well-planned and organized fundraising calendar can help you coordinate and streamline your team’s efforts, resulting in greater success in meeting fundraising goals.
Ability to Plan and Schedule Events/Campaigns
One of the key benefits of creating a fundraising calendar is the ability to plan and schedule events and campaigns with precision. By developing a clear plan with concrete dates in place, organizations can prioritize their efforts and allocate resources more effectively, leading to increased efficiency and greater success in hitting their fundraising targets.
Coordination of Fundraising Efforts
A fundraising calendar also helps different departments within an organization coordinate their efforts and stay on the same page from start to finish. For example, a marketing team can plan and execute promotional campaigns for a fundraising event, while a development team can work on securing sponsorships simultaneously. Sharing a calendar ensures that everyone is working towards the same goal and that there are no duplicated efforts that amount to team members wasting precious time.
In addition to helping with planning and coordination, a fundraising calendar provides accountability for your team. A visual representation of deadlines, goals, and progress makes it easier for organizations to hold themselves accountable. This ultimately leads to increased motivation and drive toward fundraising success.
Makes Budgets Clear
Other important aspects of maintaining a fundraising calendar are budgeting and expense tracking. By having a clear overview of expenses related to fundraising activities, organizations are better able to manage their finances and make the most of their resources.
Shows Projected Income
Finally, a fundraising calendar provides a basis for forecasting future fundraising income. You can use this information to plan for future expenses and programs, ensuring that your organization has the resources it needs to succeed.
The Difference Between a Fundraising Calendar and a Cause Calendar
A fundraising calendar and a cause calendar are two different types of calendars used by nonprofits to plan and track their activities. While they have some similarities, they have distinct differences and functions for fundraising teams.
Key Aspects of Fundraising Calendars
A fundraising calendar primarily focuses on the planning and execution of fundraising events, campaigns, and initiatives. It outlines the timeline for these activities and helps organizations coordinate their efforts and resources to reach their fundraising goals. Fundraising calendars include details like dates and times of events, budgets, and expected outcomes.
Key Aspects of Cause Calendars
On the other hand, a cause calendar focuses on promoting a specific cause or advocacy campaign. It includes a variety of activities—such as community events, social media campaigns, and educational opportunities—that are designed to raise awareness and support for a particular cause. Cause calendars also include holidays and anniversaries that are significant to the cause you’re promoting.
5 Steps to Creating a Fundraising Calendar
Creating a fundraising calendar is a straightforward process, but it requires careful planning and attention to detail. Here are five steps you can follow to get started:
1. Determine Your Fundraising Goals
Before you start creating your calendar, you need to determine your fundraising goals. This includes determining the amount of money you want to raise, the audience you want to target, and the specific campaigns you want to launch.
2. Plan Your Fundraising Events
Start planning all your fundraisers—including silent auctions, galas, walkathons, and other events—as early as you can. Make sure to consider the time of year, location, and budget as you plan.
3. Determine the Right Marketing Strategies
Determine which marketing strategies will be most effective for each event. This could include email campaigns, social media promotions, and direct mail.
4. Assign Tasks and Deadlines
Assign specific tasks and deadlines to members of your team to ensure that everything is completed on time.
5. Review and Revise
After you have created your calendar, review it regularly to make sure that everything is running smoothly and that you are on track to meet your fundraising goals. When necessary, put aside some time to revise it so that it reflects evolving changes in your fundraising strategy.
4 Tips for Creating a Great Fundraising Calendar
A fundraising calendar is only as good as its execution. To ensure that yours is realistic, effective, and properly formatted, here are a few tips:
- Be Realistic With Your Goals: Make sure your fundraising goals are realistic and achievable. This will prevent you from setting yourself up for disappointment and thwarting the efficacy of your fundraising efforts.
- Keep it Simple: Keep your calendar simple and easy to read. A calendar without clutter will make it easier for you and your team to follow and will safeguard your organization from missing important dates and deadlines.
- Include All Relevant Information: Make sure to include all relevant information, such as event dates, locations, budgets, and marketing strategies, in your calendar.
- Use a Template: Consider using a template to create your calendar. Templates are useful tools that can help you stay organized. Plus, it’s often easier to start from a template than to start from scratch.
Resources for Creating Your Own Fundraising Calendar
If you're looking for a fundraising calendar template, there are several resources available online. Here are a few places to start:
- Microsoft Office: Microsoft Office offers several templates for calendars, including Excel spreadsheets and Word documents.
- Google Calendar: Google Calendar is a free, easy-to-use tool that can be used to create a fundraising calendar. Simply create a new calendar, add events, and share it with your team.
- Online Calendar Creators: There are several online calendar makers, such as Canva, that allow you to create custom calendars for free or for a small fee. These platforms offer templates, graphics, and design tools to help you create an eye-catching and effective fundraising calendar.
In short, a fundraising calendar is an essential tool for nonprofits, as they help the young to keep track of all fundraising activities, events, and marketing campaigns. For optimal results, remember to keep your goals realistic, keep your calendar simple and easy to read, include all relevant information, and consider using a template to get started.
How FrontStream Can Help With Fundraising Calendars and More
We provide easy-to-use, powerful fundraising tools to help organizations like yours exceed fundraising goals. From donor management and payment processing to auctions, crowdfunding campaigns, and peer-to-peer events, our digital fundraising solutions streamline your efforts so you can spend more time focusing on what matters most: Raising funds for your worthy cause. Request a free demo today to learn more!