Fully Transparent Fundraising – The Plan and the Budget

Fundraising – the place where everyone feels they have to hide, work competitively, and whatever they do, NOT to share what they learn (lest they lose their competitive advantage!).

Well I guess we will just see if that is the case!

As we announced last week, we will be doing our year-end fundraising appeal entirely openly – sharing with you our strategy, our budget, our goals, our target audiences – everything!

So let’s start at the beginning of a fundraising plan. Why are we doing this fundraising effort?  What are we raising money FOR and what are we hoping that will accomplish?  And of course, how much do we need?

This post will cover all that. If we are going to share everything, including our plans and our thinking – and if we are going to invite your thinking to add to ours – it seems the only logical place to start.

The Plan
We spent a good deal of last summer re-looking at the Global Impact Plan for Creating the Future. We summarized that plan in a video you’ll find at the bottom of this post.

From that planning process, we developed the mission we want to accomplish in the first 5-10 years of this organization’s work.

5-10 Year Mission:
Change  the norm for systems in the Community Benefit Sector (governance, planning, funding, etc.), so those systems all aim at our collective potential to create a healthy, vibrant world.

The video at the end of this post shares both how we arrived at that goal, and the broad stroke of the programs we will be developing to accomplish that mission.

If we are to accomplish sector-wide systems change in 5-10 years, it is clear Dimitri and I can no longer support Creating the Future’s work by doing small consulting gigs.  Having seen start-ups come and go, we know that would be the sure path to Creating the Future always being a tiny off-shoot of our consulting work – which is not going to accomplish anything!  I blogged the details about that here, excitedly sharing our decision to leave consulting behind, to focus 100% on ensuring this organization achieves its full potential.

It is also clear, as the video notes, that we need to ramp up quickly – find a huge infusion of cash to hire staff, develop programs, and build the tech infrastructure to support it all. Social change efforts are escalating so rapidly, and we would love to see those efforts be as effective as possible.

All that said, until we can find that large infusion of start-up funding, we need to continue building the organization – both infrastructure (tax exemption, board, etc.) and programs.

It is that interim funding this budget (and this fundraising effort!) is intended to support.

The budget you see before you is for the next three months. Dimitri and I will be donating much of our time, as well as our company sharing expenses on the office operations. The following therefore describes what Creating the Future needs to keep the doors open and at least pay the mortgages on our respective homes!

Operating Expenses
• Office Expenses $2,000/month  (rent, phones, utilities, web-related – hosting, domains, virus protection, etc.)
• Salaries $6,000/month (includes employer side of taxes – Dimitri and Hildy)

1 month total: $8,000 / month
3 months: $24,000

In addition to our operating expenses, we are also seeking funds for one of the biggest investments we need to make – registering in all 50 US states, so we can actively solicit funds! (One of many Catch-22’s of building an organization…)

The attorney who is donating 100% of her services to obtain our IRS tax exemption has offered to also handle all 50 state solicitation registrations, at what amounts to her out-of-pocket cost for her staff to do this labor intensive work (plus the considerable state filing fees…)

That one-time start-up investment will be approximately $10,000. Everyone warned us it would be expensive and time consuming, and we feel blessed that Ellis is helping us do it right – and that we don’t have to do this incredibly time-consuming work ourselves, leaving us to focus on the real work of building Creating the Future’s programs!

The resulting budget for the next few months looks like this:

Operating – 3 months: $24,000

50 State Solicitation Registration (one-time start-up expense): $10,000

Total to be raised: $34,000

What’s Next
As promised, from here we will be blogging our strategy and our progress. We’ll be sharing our emails and snail mail letters as samples – and we’ll talk about the strategy behind those mailings.  And in the end, we’ll see if such transparency can work.

Thanks for being part of this adventure, everyone! We are hopeful that our doing this campaign with 100% transparency helps others see that it is possible to share openly about the things we normally keep behind closed doors.

As always, your thoughts and ideas are not merely welcome, but desired and encouraged. As is your donation!

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