How to Build a Philanthropic Plan

Over the past several months I have been participating in the mentoring program with my local chapter of AFP. The majority of the meetings with my mentee have focused on helping her articulate a case for support and building a philanthropic plan for the organization’s integrated strategic plan.

To extend the value of the work done with my mentee to others looking to improve their strategic planning skills, we will  spend the next several weeks breaking down the parts of a philanthropic plan. The philanthropic plan typically consists of five basic parts. These parts build on one another as your plan progresses to give your strategy clarity. The early sections give detail so that the latter sections can concentrate on providing a concise road-map of actionable items to achieve your development goals.

As with grammar, these parts are listed below to simply to provide structure and a general guideline, but rules are made to be broken (provided you understand the rules and the reason for them). These parts include:

  • Organizational Context – mission, vision, history, values
  • Philanthropic Environment – fundraising resource audit, SWOT analysis
  • Philanthropic Goals – strategic, financial, timetable
  • Philanthropic Strategy – cases for support (audience, case, and implementation)
  • Benchmarks – staff performance metrics, strategic, financial

Next: Organizational Context

About Benjamin Mohler

Benjamin Mohler is Vice President of Institutional Advancement for the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS). In this role, he oversees the KCTCS Office of Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement and the KCTCS Office of Grants and Sponsored Programs. With 16 colleges and more than 70 campuses, KCTCS is the Commonwealth’s largest postsecondary institution. He also serves as executive director of the KCTCS Foundation, Inc.

Mohler most recently served as assistant vice president for development at Eastern Kentucky University. His background also includes key advancement roles at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Cedarville University, and The University of Texas at Austin.

He earned a master’s degree in philanthropy and development from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota and a bachelor’s degree in communication arts from Cedarville University. He is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) and has earned the Advanced Certified Fundraising Executive (ACFRE) credential. He currently serves on the ACFRE Board.

Mohler was named to Charlotte Business Journal's "Forty Under 40" in 2013 and the AFP Bluegrass Chapter honored him with their Exemplary Service Award in 2015.


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