Summer FUNdraising!
Posted on: May 22, 2018 at 10:13 am

By Priscilla Guajardo Cortez, J.D., M.Ed.

Summer is quickly approaching and for many that means FUN!  For nonprofit organizations, especially the development staff, it means FUNdraising! 

During the summer months, nonprofits typically experience a slowdown.  Donors and board members take vacation and programming is often scaled back.  The summer is an excellent time for the development team to take advantage of the quiet and plan for the rest of the year.

Here are 10 things development teams can do to make the most of the summer slowdown: 

  1. Get organized.  This is a great time to bring your database up to date and ready for upcoming donor appeals.  The first half of the year can be busy, so take the time to add those contact reports, update donor information, and identify your next moves.
  2. Evaluate.  Mid-year is a good time to assess your progress toward achieving your annual fundraising goals.  If you need to revise your development plan’s strategies and timelines, there will be plenty of time to do so to ensure success.    
  3. Ask.  Get the competitive edge by sending out a summer donor appeal.  Many nonprofits will wait until the holiday season to do so.  Let your donors hear from you now and avoid getting lost in the year-end flurry of asks.
  4. Research.  Use this quiet time to do thoughtful research on prospective donors.  There are many ways you can do this now.  Mine your own database for major gift prospects or go online to find out donor giving information and wealth markers.  
  5. Visit. Not everyone takes a summer vacation.  Don’t be afraid to call upon your donors and set up visits!  You may be surprised how many will be available and interested in talking with you.
  6. Prepare.  Start writing that end-of-year appeal and/or impact report now and give yourself time to refine it.  Writing when not under the pressure of a deadline can result in a more thoughtful and creative message or product.    
  7. Gather. Gather client success stories and photos to include in upcoming communications to donors and prospects. 
  8. Refresh.  Refresh your website with new client stories and photos so that there is consistency in your communications.
  9. Host.  Encourage Board members to host small house parties to invite their friends and neighbors to learn more about your organization.
  10. Market yourself.  Use this time to stay connected and share your achievements.  Send emails or post on Facebook to keep donors engaged and informed of what lies ahead.

Your organization’s services are needed year-round so we encourage you to take advantage of the summer and avoid missing out on opportunities to encourage and inspire philanthropic support by doing just a few of the activities described above.

Most importantly, go out there and have some FUN while fundraising this summer!