With Memorial Day behind us, summer has officially begun, and fundraising professionals know that giving goes down in the summer months. But it doesn’t have to. It’s true that donors may not be regularly seeing your communications, but summer can be a great time to prepare for an abundant harvest in the fall and end-of-year giving season.

Here are 3 strategies to maximize relationships and income during the dog days of summer.

1. Focus on relationship building

If you carry a caseload of major donor prospects, the summer months can be a 90-day period of simply building relationships.  A more relaxed pace can encourage a game of golf, a day on the lake, or simply a casual meeting where relational bonds are strengthened.  

Make an intentional effort of 1 meaningful connection each month (June, July, and August) with at least 1 face to face casual appointment.   Invite the donors to a concert, a conference, or to join you for an outing.  No pretension of an ask, just build rapport. 

It will serve you very well when presenting your funding proposal in the 4th quarter. 

2. Launch a mini-campaign

Our mini-campaigns are designed to last between 4-6 weeks – perfect for the summer months.  The mini-campaign has a few characteristics that make it successful:

a. It’s focused on a singular project

b. It has a defined financial goal

c.  It has a name and a creative theme

d.  The audience is segmented.  This could be just for lapsed donors, donors between two gift levels such as $1,000 to $5,000, or donors in a specific geographic region (all Texas donors for instance)

e. Communication is delivered at a defined pace with multiple touches (direct mail, email, personal follow-up)

f. It has a beginning date and an ending date. 

One of our private clients employed this approach last summer.  They added a matching challenge from a generous donor, achieved their goal in 5 weeks, raised summer giving, and went into the fall from a position of strength.   If you’d like to learn more about the mini-campaign, give us a call for some ideas.  Our gift to you!

3. Plan for the 4th Quarter

Ministries that are strategic in their planning have end-of-year campaigns in place by July or August at the latest.  If you’re the team leader, press the team for multi-channel strategies early.  You’ll need the time to schedule donor appointments, prepare for Giving Tuesday, write and produce collateral, and implement. 

The summer months can be a great time to schedule an off-site, enjoy the outdoors, and do some team building while getting a head-start for the fall and prime giving months. 

So, yes, school is out for the summer, but it can be a great time to engage your donors.

Let’s go change the world!