Nonprofit Donor Communication: Stop Summer Slide

The dog days of summer.

While this phrase conjures up images of fun in the sun and backyard barbecues, it’s also synonymous with a period of heat-induced sluggishness that coincides with the heliacal rising of Sirius, also known as the “dog star”.

It’s the time of year when lawns begin to turn brown and crunchy, steering wheels threaten to melt fingerprints, and even taking a breath — especially here in the south — seems to require Herculean effort.

So it would be easy to let your donor communications slide, right? Just hit cruise control, enjoy your summer Fridays, and don’t rock the boat.

As tempting as that may sound, donors still want to hear from your nonprofit!

As parents, educators, and many nonprofits already know, “summer slide” is when kids spend all year learning, only to let that knowledge slip away over the summer. This means more work once the new school year commences.

The same concept applies to nonprofit donor communications.

(Not to mention the fact that, for many nonprofit professionals, the concept of “summer slowdown” is a myth.)

As Fundraising Coach and Concord Leadership Group principal Marc Pitman told Nancy Schwartz,

“Slowdown in summer? I recall there being one when I started 20 years ago. But now it seems to go faster and faster every year.”

And don’t count on other nonprofits in your community slowing down either. Your nonprofit is already vying for “wallet share” with other nonprofits for donor support.

Don’t make it easier for donors to disengage with your organization’s mission by letting them forget why your work matters!

Thankfully, nonprofit communications consultant Ann Green came up with some better ideas for summertime donor communications.

The number one thing to remember is to plan ahead.

Summer will come to an end sooner than you might realize and your nonprofit needs to be prepared for the upcoming fall campaigns and end-of-year giving season.

Part of this planning means taking stock of what your nonprofit is already doing. Use the downtime in the coming weeks to examine how your nonprofit communicates with donors and just how effective those communications are.

Remember to keep your appeals short and sweet in the summer months. Just as the typical “beach read” tends to focus on entertainment rather than enrichment, so your donor communications should mostly be brief, inspiring, and fun.

Read on for more tips from Ann on her blog.

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