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Progression Tracker
Do You Need a Funding Plan?
Introduction to the Six Steps
Step 1: Establish Priorities
Step 2: Assess Capacity
Step 3: Set Fundraising Goals
Step 4: Identify Funding Sources
Step 5: Evaluate & Select Funding Sources
  • Fundraising Environment
  • Diversification
  • Estimated Returns
  • Sustainability
  • Key Evaluation Questions
Step 6: Write & Implement Plan
Final Quiz
Sample Finance Plans
List of Case Studies
References & Additional Resources

Step 5 (continued). Your Fundraising Environment - Factors

Knowing your fundraising environment means understanding how events and trends outside of your organization will affect your funding strategies. Below is a list of environmental factors you should consider and some examples of each one:

  1. Demographic trends. America is getting older. The immigrant population is increasing.
  2. Changing socio-economics. Americans on average are better educated, though significant gaps in educational achievement still persist. Religious and cultural diversity are on the rise.
  3. Economy. The stock market is increasingly uncertain. Many previously governmental services are being provided by nonprofits or for-profit organizations.
  4. World events. The impact of disasters like Hurricane Katrina or the tsunami in South Asia are increasing.
    Global conflicts are increasing, increasing spending to defense and anti-terrorist activities and
    decreasing domestic spending.
  5. Competition. There are currently more than 1.4 million registered nonprofits (see figure below), with an estimated additional 8-9 million nonprofits not registered. Due to the speed and the reach of mass technology, people can see events occurring worldwide instantaneously and can often be overwhelmed by human suffering to the point of being immobilized by "compassion fatigue."
  6. Geographic Area. Some parts of the country are protected watersheds or non-attainment areas, which could affect targeted funding.
  7. Environmental Trends. It's also a good idea to know about watershed-specific trends such as:
    • How fast is your watershed population growing?
    • What is the state of the economy in your watershed?
    • What are the big issues of concern in your area?
Number of Registered Nonprofits in the US from 1977-2004
Graph shows the number of registered nonprofits in the U.S. from 1977-2004. The number has increased from approximately 600,000 in 1977 to 1.4 million in 2004.

Citation: See Resources, Works Cited #25

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