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Fundraising Tip: Fundraising Before Summer

With fundraising slowing down during the summer months, be sure to get in front of your donors before.

Ever since I started working in nonprofit fundraising, I have gotten in the habit of taking most of my time off for the year during the summer.

Although this may be different for some nonprofits, summer time is when many donors are not donating. They are “summering”!

Most of the work I am doing around fundraising and appeals slows down in the summer, with a fall appeal going out in late August or ealy September. This doesn’t mean you close up your fundraising shop, it means that you can plan around summer.

May is a great time for a fundraising event (I am supporting one and attending a few others), doing some type of fundraising around Mother’s Day, and appealing to your donors and supporters to think about your mission before getting into the business of summer.

If you work on a fundraising team that makes very few asks during the year, May is a great time to make one of them. I’m working on two direct mail appeals and several e-appeals. I’ve learned over the years that getting in front of donors before summer can be very helpful.

As nonprofit fundraisers who are always sharing impact, be sure to include in your messaging and asks why donating now is important, and be as specific as possible as you can be with the impact of a donation at this time of the year.

Every mission is different. You may have bigger needs during the summer. You may simply need extra support in a typically slow fundraising time.

Pre-summer actions can also include personal notes to donors, especially those you know a lot about. For example, if the donor is traveling this summer, taking their children “home” for the summer, or are enjoying their last summer with a child who is heading to college, include warm wishes about that in your note.

Keep in mind that you are in relationship with your donors, and checking in with them as you would want to checked in with before summer is a great idea.

Once you have your connection and asking plans set for pre-summer, remember that self-care is a big part of nonprofit fundraising and make plans to take some time off if you are in a position to do so.

Take a risk. Be of service. Support your friends and colleagues. Be kind.

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