Wish You Were Here: Connecting with Donors in the Summer

Do you remember the postcards that had a “wish you were here” message with an image of some beautiful destination?

That memory has inspired us to think about communicating with donors during the summer months. Summer schedules are busy for everyone, but there is no shortage of meaningful ways to keep in touch with your donors, even if they aren’t “here.”

Depending on your program mix, you may be running camps or performing in outdoor venues, or it may be a slow time when you ramp up for fall. No matter the cadence of your schedule, the summer is an ideal time to add new strategies for donor engagement and solicitation.

The following list offers ideas for in-person and virtual engagement throughout the summer:

  • Consider a summer appeal with the “wish you were here” theme. Be sure to include an impact story with a personalized note from your executive director that simply says, “thinking of you” or “we thought you’d love to hear this great story.”
  • Host tours of your facilities. Create opportunities throughout the summer months for donors to see your programs in action. Offering a variety of times allows for easier scheduling and gives you multiple touchpoints for highly personalized asks.
  • Create a Facebook live event for donors who are at summer homes or are on vacation so that they can see a program’s impact from wherever they may be. Follow up those events with an invitation to meet in person when they return to town.
  • Plan small fundraising events on the outdoor patios of board members’ homes. One of my favorite nonprofit events was done this way. Every guest was given a pair of flip flops to wear when they arrived, which added to the casual and fun tone of the evening.
  • Buy a table for a summer concert or play and invite donors to sit with you. Your purchase supports a fellow nonprofit performing arts group and gives you a lovely evening of conversation and relationship building.
  • Ask every board member to make phone calls to six to eight donors who give over the summer to say, “thank you for your support of our mission, we couldn’t do this important work without you.”

It’s important to have an inventory of photos, stories, talking points, and quotes to use in appeals and stewardship materials. Have the entire development team spend an afternoon with the program staff to build those internal relationships and capture great impact images and messages.

We wish you well this summer season and hope you take the time to engage in new and creative ways.

Article by: Kerri Laubenthal Mollard, Founder & CEO

2021-06-10T15:12:28+00:00June 10th, 2021|