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Pasta cooks swear by it. And many a college student kitchen has the scars to prove it. Toss a piece of spaghetti against the wall and see if it sticks. Then you will know whether or not it’s done and ready to be removed from the pot.
It’s really a trial and error approach, wastes time, expensive and damaging. Better have a new coat of paint ready before the landlord comes to inspect.
Or…could you develop a better methodology for cooking pasta, tried and true, no mess, good instincts and delicious results? Good cooks can attest to this.
Same goes for strategic planning – especially around financial resource development.
Right now it’s direct mail season. Should we or shouldn’t we? When? Before or after Thanksgiving? What might be the result?
Rarely do I hear the question – how might direct mail be a part of our overall development plan? How will this plan advance our relationships with donors? What’s our overall strategy? After all, pasta is not eaten every night of the week (unless you are a fussy four year-old with exasperated parents). But I feel like an exasperated parent sometimes – encouraging a balanced meal, planned out for best nutrition and growth. Because I do not recommend throwing the spaghetti against the wall and seeing where it sticks – or for our purposes, dropping thousands of pieces of direct mail and see what sticks.
Don’t get me wrong – direct mail can be a part of the plan, just like vegetables are a partner to the pasta.
So if you are game and want to effectively plan instead of throwing pasta on your office ceiling, here’s some components of a good plan:
1. State your overall strategy for your development year.
2. Create your objectives.
3. Delineate your tactics to achieve your objectives.
4. Quantify the financial goals.
5. Qualify your non-financial goals.
6. Create your timeline.
7. Define success and create a portrait for what success feels like and looks like.
8. Get broad-based buy-in for your plan from all stakeholders – professional and lay leadership.
10. Drain the pasta and immerse it in cold water so it doesn’t stick to the pot or continue to cook…
If you need help creating your development plan, I know a good consultant (who also makes excellent pasta!)

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