7 mid-August projects for more productive fundraising come fall

August is pretty much a dead zone in the annual fundraising cycle, particularly when it comes to connecting with donors. Which makes this the ideal time to tune up your shop in anticipation of the mad dash to calendar year-end. Tackle the following seven dog-days-of summer spruce-up projects and I promise you’ll experience enhanced fundraising results come September through December.squashed_by_text_10949

1. Weed out unproductive strategies. Looking back is crucial to moving forward toward greater fundraising success.  Set aside a few lazy, hazy days to evaluate the activities of the past year. What worked well? What didn’t? Some things bear repeating. Others are better left behind.

2. Prepare a plan for the months ahead. With evaluation info in hand, it’s time to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and map out a work plan for the months ahead. As the saying goes, a stitch in time is worth nine. An hour of planning now will save you many hours of frustration down the road.

3. Check in with first-time donors. Spend some talking with folks who are new to your organization– at least as donors. What inspired them to make a gift? Are they likely to give again? Do they want to know more about your organization? Ask, and a lot of good information will be given to you.

4. Reach out to year-skippers. Donors don’t think of themselves as “lapsed,” even if it’s been more than a year since their last gift. In fact, most us believe we’ve given more recently – and more often – than organizational records show. Reach out to the year-skippers now, but sans the “missing you last year” or “hoping to welcome you back” messages. Present your best case and leave it at that.

5. Create a story file.  A compelling story is a far stronger case for support than a boat-load of statistics. And a lot more winsome than the typical whining about budget woes. What three or four stories from the past year best illustrate mission success by your organization? Tuck them away for use in the fall.

6.  Expand your organization’s digital presence.  I assume you have a website and that you’ve made it simple for people to give online. But don’t stop there. Commit to mastering one or more of the social media platforms available these days. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc. etc. Find what will work for you and then work it.

7.  Link and learn. Locate, bookmark, and better yet, subscribe to online resources (blogs, e-newsletters, websites) that speak to challenges facing your fundraising program. (If you haven’t already subscribed to Generous Matters, I hope you’ll do so now.)

Add your own August tune-up ideas to the list. Your colleagues will thank you.

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