What Does Freedom Mean to You?
July 10, 2019
Get a Head Start on Your Year-End Appeal
July 31, 2019

The Not-So-Lazy Days of a Fundraiser’s Summer

Some things do slow down for nonprofit fundraisers during the summer months.  Many of our donors are away.  There are fewer grant deadlines.  It’s not a great time to mail.  Right?

All true, but there is SO much you can during the summer to boost your fundraising.  Here are a few ideas:

  • Figure out where you are – You’ve been working so hard all year and now is a great time to review your progress.  Gather all of your relevant fundraising evaluation statistics and compare this year to last year.  Are you ahead in terms of total dollars?  What about average gift and number of gifts? How does it compare to where you thought you’d be?
  • Look back at your plan – Take out your fundraising plan and evaluate where you are in terms of activity.  Did you do the mailings you thought you’d do?  Did you have the number of personal visits you were planning for?  Did the number of foundations grants that you based your budget on come through?  What happened and why or why not?
  • Make adjustments – If the things you were planning did happen, is there anything else you can do to improve results?  And if your work didn’t go as planned, why not?  What can you do to make corrections?  Consider having a half-day retreat with everyone in your organization involved with fundraising to answer these questions.  Plans are made to be adjusted!
  • Pay attention to neglected audiences – Summer is a great time to cultivate audiences that you may not have been able to pay attention to in the busy spring.  We all send out foundation reports when they are due, but when’s the last time you sent a foundation officer a collection of all the press your organization has received or a personalized note about a specific program in which they have interest?  Summer is also a great time to send low-dollar monthly donors or bequest donors (who often get the short shrift in terms of cultivation in busy organizations) something special.
  • Plan for the year-end storm – When I was a development director, I used to think of the summer as the calm before the storm.  There was an ominous sense of quiet that I knew wasn’t going to last.  Use this time to map out exactly what you are going to do for year-end fundraising.  What are the mailing deadlines?  Exactly what segments are you going to call?  How many visits can the Executive Director do with her schedule?  How should you follow up that event?   What exactly does the year-end e-mail campaign look like?
  • Brush up on your fundraising knowledge – Take this opportunity to seek out the latest in e-mail fundraising statistics, foundation giving, or nonprofit communications techniques.  There are so many resources available.  And if you are looking for something specific and can’t find it, just let us know.  We’ll be able to point you in the right direction.

Most of all, don’t let this time go to waste.  It’s a great opportunity to get organized and ahead of the game. 

Oh, and DO take some time off, too.  You’ve got to be well-rested for that storm…

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