March 19, 2018 Douglas Shaw & Associates

We often hear clients use the words “Summer Slump,” a term they use to describe what can be a difficult time of year to fundraise successfully. With school out, people on vacation, and good weather, donors can be distracted, and supporting your organization’s cause may not always be top of mind. But summer doesn’t have to be a time when you’re barely meeting your budget.

With a well-orchestrated summer campaign, you can boost your revenue and realize more income. In fact, the organizations we serve that run this type of campaign often far exceed prior summer months’ income. One organization saw a 58% increase to direct response giving!

In our experience, all it takes is a plan outlining a campaign and a coordinated effort among staff and partners. HINT: If you develop this now, you can be well on your way to experiencing your best summer revenue ever!

Five key pieces to developing an integrated summer campaign:

  1. Create an environment where the donor can be a part of something larger than themselves. For example, a “Yes, I’m in!” campaign is an invitation for the donor to work with you to serve your beneficiaries during the summer months. This helps the donor feel intimately engaged in overcoming the challenges with you, and when you add social media channels to the mix, they feel even more part of your story, and the likelihood of them becoming your advocates increases.
  2. A multi-channel approach is imperative! Include mail, email, social media, paid and unpaid media exposure, PR, events, and more. Whatever channels are at your disposal, use them.
  3. All channels need to feel like they are a part of the same campaign. Use of logos, terminology, and verbiage should be replicated across all channels. And don’t forget to carry it through to your homepage with a link to a donation form that provides a bit more information and the opportunity for them to participate through giving.
  4. Consider using a three envelope ask in direct mail to launch the campaign. This concept uses one reply envelope for each summer month and includes messaging that appreciates their busyness by including a reply envelope for June, July, and August. The summer ask isn’t meant to replace your July and August appeals, so be sure to still send those to your donors as well.
  5. Matching challenges work well at this time of year, so if you have the opportunity to use a match or a grant, explore it!
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