If you’re anything like me you may have become used to – or perhaps dependent on – directional apps, like Google Maps. I even put on directions to pick up my son from daycare, just so I know exactly the best way to get there and when I will arrive. Evidently, I like having certainty and a plan.

    These apps are written with algorithms that assess available routes (plus traffic or accidents) to produce the most efficient directions.  What if we could apply something similar for fundraising professionals?

    Having a development plan that outlines the who, what, when, and how we can reach our goal is vital. Even though it is critical, it can feel like the most cumbersome task and often gets pushed to the back burner amongst all the other day-to-day minutia.

    Your development plans or map can be complex, but in these uncertain times it is important they are simple and flexible. There are three main aspects of the route to keep in mind:

    Major Gifts

    Identifying and cultivating your top major gift donors will help you get to your destination faster. A major gift can be a gift over $1,000 or above $5,000; you decide based on your organization. If you are like a Development Director I recently spoke with, you may feel like you have hundreds of important donors and don’t know how to get to all of them. While all donors are important, maintaining a strong relationship with those most invested in your destination (aka your vision for the community) will help you reach your goal most efficiently.

    Annual Gifts

    Direct response marketing can be a very useful path to take to reach a larger number of your smaller donors. You’ll need to “power-up” your storytelling skills for this leg of the journey.  With a strong and urgent case for support and the right communications channel for the right list, your annual gift donors will join you as you motor towards your goal. They are great passengers to have on the journey and an important part of supporting your mission.

    Radical Stewardship

    Always remember to stop and say “thank you” to your donors. This could be the most important stop on your journey. How a donor feels after they give is still the best indication of if they will give again. They need to be thanked and shown the impact their gift has on the people or community you serve.


    With these three aspects of your fundraising route in place, you can go further faster.  Those you serve are counting on you to navigate the philanthropic roadways, connect donors to your mission, and raise the support needed to carry out your mission.

    DBD Group is here to be your co-pilot as you embark on your journey. Together we can create a route – and a plan – that provides the directions you need to efficiently and successfully reach your destination. Join other non-profit colleagues and gain peer support as you create your own journey in our Virtual Annual Giving Academy.

    For more information, visit:



    Photo by Perry Fel on Unsplash


    Posted by Lauren DeSimone
    Lauren DeSimone

    Written by Lauren DeSimone

    An alum of DBD Group coaching during her YMCA days, Lauren DeSimone, CFRE, focuses on providing excellent support to nonprofit professionals and volunteers looking to grow their mission and help their clients thrive. With over 14 years of varied experience in nonprofit fundraising, Lauren seeks to share her “on the ground” lessons learned and serve as a sounding board for nonprofits as they overcome today’s philanthropic obstacles.

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