Summer slump. This is the phrase most of us use to describe the low season of giving in the summer months. There are obvious reasons, yet, let’s look at this issue together to really try to understand what is happening with our donors...and within our organization.
Here are a few reasons why your donor giving might drop in the summer:
- Donors think about some organizations seasonally.
It’s true. If I am an after-school program, donors think of me during the school year. If I am a rescue mission, donors love to give to me at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Think of your organization. Do donors think about you at a particular time of year?
- Donors take a vacation.
I mean, they take a vacation from the cares of this world. If you live in colder climates, this seems especially true. Harsh winters make us pant like a dog for the outdoors of summer. Major donors have been working hard inside and want a few months to enjoy the outside. Summer months are made for get-togethers, gardens, and outdoor recreation. This also means a donor does not want a sad story or heavy messaging to ruin their fun.
- Staff needs a break too.
Yes, we have to say something about your development team. Summer can also be a time to take a breather since the rest of the year is so hectic. Over-stressed staff can hinder donor cultivation.
How to Engage Donors During the Summer
Here are a few suggestions on how to engage donors during the summer:
- Join the vacation and engage donors with fun messaging.
I have seen some really creative messaging that is fun and engaging for summer donor communications. Be creative but keep the messaging light and simple.
- Build a robust monthly donor program.
If you work hard on building an engaging, informative, and connective monthly giving program, then summer months do not take such a hit on the annual budget.
- Schedule one-on-one meetings.
This is a great time to connect with major donors. Even if vacations are scheduled, it is easier to work around it. Donors and staff alike enjoy getting out of the office (or home) into that summer day. Breakfast and lunches can be enjoyable for cultivation.
- Make a summer major gift Ask.
In the winter and spring, major gift officers should be reviewing and scheduling cultivation activities with major donors. I suggest to my clients to have several Asks in the summer. These may not be the Asks that come with year end giving, but, none-the-less, these summer Asks can bring in much needed support during this dry season.
- Strategize for the busy fall season.
Staff do need to breath, especially before busy seasons. Going into a busy season without strategy can cost you a lot of time, resources, and opportunities. Use summer to gather as a team, in a fun environment, to creatively strategize 4th quarter and beyond.
Let’s talk more about how you can make this summer successful for your organization. Just schedule a free coaching call to start the conversation >>