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BY LEAH LIBOLT
It’s almost June! That means that the weather is heating up, but your nonprofit’s fundraising may be cooling down.
In the world of nonprofit fundraising, summertime is historically a difficult time and is often seen as the “off season.” Statistics show that nonprofits bring in less than 5% of their annual fundraising income in both July and August, respectively. An analysis of gifts made on the MobileCause platform shows that donations during these two summer months are on average 18% less than gifts made during the rest of the year.
And this year, after many months of social distancing, people seem eager to travel, meet up with friends and family, and explore the world around them. This means that donor engagement this summer may present even more of a challenge. But don’t despair, these 5 tips will allow you to make the most of the summer months and help prepare you for an outstanding fall fundraising season.
1. CONNECT WITH YOUR DONORS
Make sure that your donors don’t forget about your organization and the work that you do. Just because fundraising revenues are lower in the summer, doesn’t mean you should abandon all outreach. Keep donors apprised of the work that you are doing with regular social media, email, and text message outreach. Show them how important your work is to those whom you serve, even in the summer. And, if your organization is one that slows down or stops its programming during the summer (i.e. a school), that’s ok, give your donors a behind the scenes look at what happens during the summer to prepare for the fall.
2. GET FEEDBACK
During other times of the year, it may be hard to stop and review your fundraising campaigns when you are pressed to get started on the next one. Because things are quieter, take the time to review your campaigns. Pull the statistics from past marketing efforts and take a look at which campaigns did well, and which didn’t. Use the data to make informed decisions about upcoming campaigns.
You can also look beyond the open rates and conversion rates and launch a donor survey to get to know your supporters better. Find out how your donors prefer to receive communications and which storytelling messages resonate with them.
3. PLAN YOUR COMMUNICATIONS
After getting some actionable insights into your donors’ communication preferences, use this information to start to plan your fall communications through Giving Tuesday and Year End. In modern digital fundraising, compelling content is becoming more and more important. Take advantage of the slow-down and start preparing content and even try something new. For example, if you have a younger donor base, learn more about TikTok and establish your organization’s presence on the platform—this guide had great tips on leveraging all social platforms. Or, learn to create compelling videos using your cell-phone that you can use online.
4. AUDIT YOUR DONATION FORMS
If your online donation form is too difficult to find, too difficult to navigate, or not optimized for mobile, you may be losing donors. Invest some time into an audit of your online giving form and website to ensure that supporters are able to complete their donation with ease. The time spent on your donation forms in the summer will be worth it in December when most donors make their gifts.
5. ENJOY THE SUMMER
After a difficult year, give yourself permission to take some time and recharge. Take advantage of the slow-down and use some of those vacation days+. Research shows that taking a vacation makes you more productive when you return. So, take those days that you have banked and enjoy time away from the office. It will allow you to make an even bigger difference for your beneficiaries when you return.