Read This! – A Book Review of “The Development Plan”

If you are looking for ONE activity to increase your fundraising effectiveness, write a development plan. A development plan (or fundraising plan) creates a framework for your fundraising efforts and can be your roadmap to success.

A great resource for you in this work is a book I just read called The Development Plan by Linda Lysakowski. This book is bursting at the seams with tools, templates and process descriptions for creating a nonprofit fund development plan.

In 200 easy-to-read pages, Linda covers reasons for creating a development plan, who should be involved in the process, the plan for planning, the actual development plan product, implementing the plan, and evaluating its success.

What sets this book apart from others is the wealth of concrete tools Linda provides to help you put her advice into practice, including:

  • Tools to assess an organization’s philanthropic culture and the board’s involvement in fundraising
  • Checklists for assessing the current state of your development program
  • A checklist for selecting an external consultant
  • Sample development audits, goal descriptions, and detailed final development plans

My one criticism of the book is that its thoroughness runs the risk of being overwhelming! Most nonprofits won’t have the time or money to follow 100% of Linda’s advice and create the Cadillac of all development plans.

Nevertheless, it’s fantastic to have all of the options laid out. You can make the book work for you by picking and choosing the components of the plan that make the most sense for your organization.

The Development Plan costs about $38 on Amazon. In addition to the development plan discussion, the book’s appendices provide bonus info regarding the Donor Bill of Rights, AFP’s code of ethics, and short descriptions of almost 20 other books that are part of the publisher’s Fund Development Series.

Have you come across any other great fundraising books lately? Please comment below!

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