Strategic Planning

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We use the SOSTAC® Planning Model (adapted for charities) to help you eliminate hidden threats and identify new fundraising opportunities

SOSTAC® was developed in the 1990s by PR Smith.

It was voted in the Top 3 Models in the world by the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s Centenary Poll.

Its beauty is in its simplicity, and the fact that it translates extremely well from commercial sector marketing to charity fundraising.


The Advantages of Strategic Planning:

  • Puts you, not circumstances, in CONTROL of your revenue 
  • Raise MORE FUNDS, more efficiently
  • Open up NEW INCOME streams
  • Get Colleague ‘BUY IN’ – clear situation reporting on threats and opportunities facing your charity helps smooth the way for collaboration 
  • Easier IMPLEMENTATION – by providing a clear, step-by-step Action Road Map

The S-O-S-T-A-C Process - From Analysis to Action Plan

This requires 50% of your plan (time and effort and space).  And it’s the most critical part. It’s where you discover the biggest Threats and Opportunities facing your fundraising operation.

Tools include:

– Charity Marketplace Analysis (SWOT)

– Donor Analysis (who, why, how)

– Competitor Analysis (real competitive advantage)

– Competencies Analysis (including brands)

– Charity Market Trends

– Performance/Results (KPIs and 5Ss).

Charity Mission, Vision, KPIs (including KPI Pyramid), 5Ss (see below)

Sell – donor acquisition and retention targets

Serve – donor satisfaction targets (including NPS scores)

Sizzle – the wow factor (what added value can you deliver this year?)

Speak – number of engaged donors (at which levels of engagement?)

Save – quantified efficiency gains (critical for healthy ROI)

Despite being the smallest part of the plan this is the most difficult. Nine components are considering when developing your fundraising strategy (TOPPP SITE):

Targeting (and whom you will target)  

Objectives (ensuring your strategy meets the objectives)

Positioning (how you want to be seen)

Partnerships (strategic partnerships)

Processes (any new processes e.g. fundraising automation)

Sequence (develop credibility before raising visibility)

Integration (all tactical tools – inc fundraising mix – plus database integration)

Tactical Tools (highlight key tactics)

Engagement (what % of customers should climb the Ladder of Engagement?).

You’ve got to get this right since your strategy drives all the subsequent tactical decisions.   Remember these wise words: “Rowing harder doesn’t help if the boat is headed in the wrong direction.”

Fundraising mix including the fundraising communications mix (ten tactical tools)

Gantt charts showing which tactics when

Apply the same Magic Marketing Formula* consistently to each tactical tool

Build a contact plan (sequence of contacts over the customer lifetime)

Build a content plan (including which topics and platforms and a content calendar).

* Magic Hat Formula: Identify (needs); Reflect (those needs with solutions or sometimes just slogans) back to your audience; Deliver (a reasonable product or service).

How to ensure excellent execution 

Checklists and Guidelines

Systems and Processes

Responsibilities and Structure

Training, Motivation and Internal Marketing (to ensure excellent execution)

What is measured by whom, when, how often and what do we do with blips?

What needs to be measured  (which Objectives/KPIs)

By whom, how often and at what cost (e.g. Usability Testing, Customer Surveys and NPS)

Report process (what happens when a 10% blip is spotted?)

Finally, Add the ‘3Ms’

Next, we consider three key resources: Men, Money and Minutes.

Men is human resources, expertise and ability to do different jobs

Money is budgets – how much money do we need to run this plan?

And Minutes means time – what are the timescales, schedules or deadlines? Is there enough time?

Even the best fundraising strategy in the world will prove useless if it sits on a shelf gathering dust because it lacks the resources needed to execute it.  The 3Ms help to ensure that you don’t fall foul of this all too common occurrence, and that your fundrasing strategy is fully implemented on time and on budget.

Have a question about our Strategic Planning service? Fill in the form below to find out more

It is our policy never to sell, swap or in anyway trade your details to a third party for marketing purposes. All enquiries (including via this form) are treated in strict confidence.  Should you choose Bloom Fundraising as a fundraising partner, we shall take all practical steps to safeguard sensitive data, including fundraising strategies, tactics, performance data, and where applicable, the handling of your supporters’ data.  Our privacy policy complies with the Fundraising Regulator’s Code of Fundraising Practice and Chartered Institute of Marketing guidelines.

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    I was paired with Gordon as part of the Institute of Fundraising Mentoring Scheme. Being able to come to him with new ideas, concerns and questions about an area of charity work that I was relatively new to at the time was incredibly useful, and he was always able to provide great input and feedback that I used to improve my performance in the role and get a promotion.

    Josh Hillier
    Community Events Manager, National Osteoporosis Society, Bath

    Gordon manages to consistently out-perform bench marks for direct marketing response rate, average value and retention.
    You don’t often see ROI in the range of 8:1 for marketing campaigns in our industry. That’s impressive.

    Nick Thomas
    Partner, Tangible UK

    We ran a test of our copy against some Gordon had written. It was a treat to come up against such stiff competition
    (Drayton Bird’s clients include: American Express, Hargreaves Lansdown plc [financial services], Readers Digest and Save the Children.)

    Gerald Woodgate
    Partner, Drayton Bird Associates