Timelines Are Like Kitchens

If your organization’s fundraising plan does not include a timeline, I would argue that your plan is not complete. The timeline piece of your plan is where the rubber meets the road. It’s where you and your team commit to taking specific actions at specific points in time during the year. 

Here are three key reasons to make sure your fundraising plan includes a timeline:

Timelines Are Like Kitchens

Image: winnond at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: winnond at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When you have a party in your home, where does everyone congregate? Your kitchen, of course! Your timeline is the “kitchen” of your development shop. It will be the most visited page of your development plan for staff, executives, board members and volunteers. Your stakeholders will visit the timeline to learn, at a glance, what’s happening when and who’s doing it. 

Tip: Clearly label the timeline in your fundraising plan’s table of contents so it’s easy for others to find.

Timelines Make Things Happen

Without a timeline to organize your activities, your fundraising plan is just a long list of strategies and tactics. Organizing these tactics onto a calendar forces you to think strategically about what to do when, and how much leg work and lead time you’ll need to achieve the results you’re driving toward each year. Bottom line, your timeline helps you get things done. 

Tip: Plan to plan. Your plan for this year should include the date you’ll begin developing NEXT year’s plan!

Timelines Foster Buy-In and Accountability

Organizing your team’s fundraising activities on a master timeline creates buy-in, sets clear expectations and eases anxiety. Staff can plan ahead and use the central timeline to create their own personal timelines and to-do lists. And when a board member wants to know when planning will begin for the annual gala? Look! It’s on the timeline!

Tip: Link specific staff and volunteer names to specific tasks – you’ll boost the chance that things will get done.

Special gift for you: My step-by-step guide, Conquer Your Fear of Asking for Money, is available here (click). 

What are your thoughts on timelines? Love them? Hate them? Please share in the Comments box below!