Summer projects to make your fundraising program more productive (part two)

I’ve assembled a list of development DIY projects designed to help you get your fundraising house in order. The suggested activities come in two parts – five today and four others in an earlier post to Generous Matters.

Tackle all nine of mine or substitute projects of your own. Either way, you can expect enhanced fundraising results come fall. Summer down time is a terrible thing to waste. So get cracking.

August 1 – 5: Create a story file.  A compelling story makes a far stronger case for support than a boat-load of statistics. Plus, stories are a lot more winsome than organizational whining about budget woes. The lazy, hazy days of summer are a great time to stock up on stories that illustrate the impact of your organization in lives of real people. Listen especially for mentions of God at work in donor hearts.

August 8 -12: Select a good book for the board. As board members head off on vacation, tuck a book on nonprofit governance or the board’s role in fundraising into their knapsacks. My recommendations?  Common Sense for Board Members by Edgar Stoesz, The Imperfect Board Member by Jim Brown, and my personal favorite, Growing Givers’ Hearts: Treating Fundraising as Ministry by me and Thom Jeavons.

August 15 – 19: Spruce up the organization’s website. Check for out-of-date information, broken links, and boring content. Clarity of vision and a compelling narrative are key to attracting and retaining loyal supporters. If your website doesn’t give people a reason to give, slapping a donate” button on every page won’t much matter.  (Think about the stories you collected last week.) For many would-be donors, the website is their first impression of your organization. Make it count.

August 22 – 26: Add to your stash of online resources. There’s a wealth of helpful advice for fundraisers available on the Internet, a lot of which is free of charge. But it takes time to find the really good stuff. Set aside a few hours this week to track down and bookmark online resources (blogs, e-newsletters, websites, and Webinars) that speak to challenges facing your fundraising program.

August 29 – September 2: Invite a mentor to lunch. Fundraising workshops, seminars, and conferences are great. But an even better (and less expensive) option for upping your development know-how is to seek out a  mentor in your own hometown. In my experience, fundraisers – and especially those working in faith-based settings – are generous people, including with their time.  So ask, and the door to a long-lasting mentor/friendship will almost certainly be opened to you.

What do you have planned for August? Post your development DIY projects here and help build the list of summer spruce-up projects for enhanced fundraising effectiveness.


  1. Carol Lytch says:

    These are great ideas. Gathering the stories and looking for the ones you mention sounds like an important and enjoyable task. Carol Lytch

  2. Glad you found the ideas useful, Carol. I will look forward to great stories from Lancaster Theological Seminary and the school’s new president.

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