Lúgh Studio’s Ultimate Guide To Summer Donations
As a nonprofit, summer presents a unique opportunity to boost your fundraising efforts. It’s a great time of year to put your message in front of people, and can be an opportune season to increase your amount of donors.
In this ultimate guide, we are covering the in’s and out’s of driving more donations during the summer. We’ll give you a background on why summer presents a great opportunity for your nonprofit. We’ll also cover 13 tips you can implement to drive more donations over the summer months, as well as a list of resources for further reference.
- Why Summer Is A Good Time To Drive Donations
- 13 Tips for Driving More Donations Over the Summer
- Resources For More Summer Donations
Why Summer Is A Good Time To Drive Donations
So — why should you take summer seriously? What makes the summer months a great time to be focusing on more donations and overall donor engagement?
Here are four reasons why summer is a good time to step up your efforts:
Often, people are more receptive to your marketing efforts during the summer. Many people are having fun and might even be taking trips. This means they are more relaxed than at other times throughout the year, and are often more willing to engage with your campaigns.
This is essential to capitalize on. Get your donors’ attention and inspire them to contribute to your nonprofit. Take advantage of this receptive audience by crafting compelling stories and impactful campaigns that resonate with their higher engagement.
Many nonprofits have missions that are somehow aligned with summertime causes. This can include certain types of outdoor activities, youth programs, environmental conservation, or disaster relief efforts.
Follow this seasonal relevance to connect with donors who share a passion for these issues. You might, for example, create campaigns that highlight the direct impact their donations can have on addressing these specific summertime challenges. Do this and people are more likely to contribute during the summer months.
Events And Festivals
Summer is synonymous with events and festivals. Indeed, more people go to them than at any other point of the year. This presents a great opportunity for your nonprofit. Leverage these social gatherings to raise awareness about your cause and engage with potential donors. You never know what a simple information booth can result in!
Plus, you don’t need to set the narrow goal of “get more donations.” Put your nonprofit’s mission in front of more eyes, spread your message, and summer events might very well be the beginning of great things to come.
For bigger donors, the summer marks the beginning of their year-end planning. What are the organizations they are most interested in supporting, and how much will they plan on giving? These are questions that concern your nonprofit…and summer is the perfect time to give these donors an answer.
By deciding to engage with them earlier in the year, you can build a strong relationship that keeps your nonprofit top-of-mind. And when the time does come for them to donate? Your nonprofit may very well be their top choice for their end-of-year giving.
13 Tips For Driving More Summer Donations
In this next section we will cover 13 tips that you can implement to drive more donations during the summer. This is quite a lot — don’t feel the pressure to implement every one. However, if you pick just a few and dedicate time and effort to them, you’re setting yourself up for summer success.
1) Launch a summer campaign
Like we said at the beginning, summer is a time when people are especially receptive to your fundraising efforts. Why not consider a summer-themed campaign?
Depending on how you go about it, this can be quite effective. Consider the copy that you use, the colors you implement, and the overall messaging. People love the summer, and as we said in the last section, they are often receptive to your campaigns during the summer. Might as well make it summer-themed!
2) Host virtual events
Done right, a virtual event can engage your donors and fosters a sense of community. Plus, it’s an event format that’s not going away. Even with how great in-person events can be, COVID has made people reassess the virtual version. Leverage the convenience and accessibility of online platforms, and you can reach a broader audience that drives more donations.
Consider hosting webinars, virtual galas, or live-streamed panel discussions related to your cause. Encourage attendees to donate during the event or give them an easy way to contribute afterward. No matter what you do, be sure to read up on how to run a successful virtual event before getting started.
3) Create a sense of urgency
If you want to drive more donations during the summer, one of the best things you can do is create a sense of urgency. People need a reason to act now. Otherwise, there’s a solid chance that they never actually do.
With that in mind, try to implement anything that will make your fundraiser a bit more urgent. Share impactful stories that highlight the pressing needs your nonprofit is addressing. Explain how time-sensitive contributions can make a significant difference. Incorporate countdown timers on your website to remind your audience about the limited time. These are all more likely to get people to act.
4) Work with influencers
For your best summer ever, a vital component could very well be your work with influencers. Often, they will have access to an entirely different audience than you do. And let’s be honest — despite your best efforts to build an audience, a summer campaign can always benefit from more eyes.
If you are going to work with influencers, the first step is identifying those that are a good fit. Who aligns with your nonprofit’s mission? Who likely has a similar audience, and do they have a history of working with nonprofits? Once you’ve made your list, it’s time to reach out. Be sure that you make any kind of collaboration beneficial to them — they need to benefit from the agreement, after all.
Assuming you find influencers to work with you, make their job easy. Give them compelling content and stories that they can share with their audience. Do this right, and endorsements from influencers can expand your reach — bringing in new donors in the process.
5) Implement peer-to-peer fundraising
Peer-to-peer fundraising might just be your secret weapon for more summer donations. By empowering your supporters to advocate for your cause on their own, your potential reach grows exponentially.
Of course, there are a few things you want to remember to maximize the effect. First of all, make sure you provide the tools and resources your audience needs to be successful. This might also include their very own personalized fundraising pages. In addition, consider offering incentives or recognition for top fundraisers to boost participation. These simple steps ensure you are maximizing the impact of this tip.
6) Engage corporate partners
The last two tips have been about influencers and your own audience. Now, it’s time to consider corporate partners. The reason these potential donors are so important to your summer campaign is all about their budget. These are organizations that often have the ability to donate much larger amounts than individuals. This makes corporate partners especially valuable.
How you go about the process effectively? It all starts with the right introduction. Start by approaching local businesses and corporations that have a philanthropic focus, but which also align with your cause. Highlight the mutual benefits of collaboration. You should also mention the positive impact their support can have on your nonprofit’s mission. Just one corporate donor can have a huge impact on the success of your summer efforts — this is a tip that it pays to take seriously.
7) Utilize social media
Social media marketing, when done properly, can amplify your summer fundraising efforts. Not only are social media platforms where much of your audience spends time, but it’s a great opportunity to put your message in front of new people. Just like all of our tips, though, you need to approach it correctly.
Here are just a few best practices you should consider:
- Create engaging and shareable content with a summer theme
- Encourage your audience to share your posts and tag friends
- Engage with your followers and publicly thank them for any contributions
Cross these items off your to-do list, and you’re setting up your summer campaigns for success.
8) Leverage email marketing
Effective email marketing is one of the best ways to market just about anything. No matter if you are a private business, a solo entrepreneur, or a nonprofit looking to drive more donations, good emails can get you there.
For best results, utilize your email list to communicate with your supporters throughout the summer. This could mean regular newsletters to your entire list, exclusive content to the most active subscribers, or simply updates on your programs and initiatives. No matter what you choose to send, be sure to implement email best practices. Clear calls-to-action for donations in your emails, as well as compelling copy, are absolute musts.
9) Create a summer giving challenge
Similar to our very first tip on running a “summer campaign”, a giving challenge will usually have a longer timeframe. It will often run throughout the course of summer (multiple months), and can encourage friendly competition among your supporters.
While there are numerous best practices for running a successful summer giving challenge, here are a few of the most important you should keep in mind:
- Set a fundraising goal and create milestones along the way
- Provide updates on progress and celebrate achievements
- Encourage your donors to share the challenge with others
- Consider offering incentives or prizes for reaching specific fundraising milestones
A summer giving challenge is a great way to push more summer donations. Just make sure you start planning ahead of time — and consider a bit of creativity!
10) Make it easy to donate
If you’re looking to drive more donations during the summer, simplicity is key. Your online donation process should be easy, quick, and user-friendly. No matter what kind of campaigns you run, this simplicity should be the name of the game. Indeed, get this wrong, and the rest of the tips fall by the wayside.
Optimize your website to provide easy access to donation forms and multiple payment options. You should always try to streamline the donation process by minimizing the number of steps required (for example, request only the most essential information from your site visitors). Something else to consider: the option to make recurring donations. This allows people to easily support your nonprofit consistently throughout the summer and beyond.
11) Test out “matching gifts”
If you want to drive more donations during the summer, you want to build a certain sense of momentum. To do this, consider leveraging the concept of “matching gifts.”
Try partnering with businesses or individual donors who are willing to match donations up to a certain amount. This will often not only encourage more donors to donate, but will drive up the average donation you receive. If you do go this route, be sure to clearly communicate the impact their donations will have — you might be surprised at the results!
12) Offer donor recognition opportunities
Once your summer event / fundraiser has finished, it’s important that you take time to show appreciation. Your donors make your nonprofit’s activities possible, after all. That’s why it’s important to recognize and appreciate them publicly.
Some things you might consider:
- Donor walls on your website
- Personalized certificates or badges
- Acknowledgment in your newsletters and social media posts
Regardless of how you go about it, be sure to highlight the impact they are making and express gratitude for their generosity. This recognition can motivate donors to continue supporting your nonprofit and encourage others to contribute as well. It also fosters a sense of belonging and pride in supporting your cause.
13) Send personalized thank you messages
Everybody likes getting personalized notes in the mail. Not only does it show your appreciation to your audience, but it can also foster a deeper connection and encourage continued giving. This is essential for long term relationships with donors.
If you want to maximize the impact of a thank you note, provide updates. This might be a simple email on how their contributions are making a difference. You can also consider sharing success stories and testimonials that highlight the impact of their donations. This will keep donors invested in your nonprofit’s mission.
Resources For More Summer Donations
Lastly, here are some resources you should check out. We’ve split this section into five main types of tools that can help you with driving more summer donations, and include multiple options in each section.
No matter what kind of summer campaigns you’re running, you’ll want a way to manage your donors. That’s where donor management software comes in. A quality one will allow you to organize your fundraising efforts, track overall donations, and manage donor relationships. Pick the right one, and they can also help with your email marketing and reporting.
Social Media Marketing
If you are going to take social media marketing seriously, the right tool can help you maximize your results. The right one will allow you to not only schedule posts in advance, but monitor engagement and analyze the performance of your campaigns.
We are big fans of email marketing. As we point out in tip #8, effective emails can keep your audience informed, build relationships on a channel you own, and drive more donations. But the secret ingredient? The right tool, which allows you to create professional-looking email campaigns, segment your donor list, and track the effectiveness of your email communications.
If you want to take your campaigns to a more professional level, consider using a fundraising platform. These tools let you launch more polished looking campaigns, as well as make the donations collection process easier. An added bonus? More advanced options also give you the option to implement peer-to-peer fundraising.
Lastly, driving more donations during the summer will be easier if you implement matching gifts. That said, it can be difficult to know where to start. Plus, even if you do have a process in mind, correct implementation is absolutely essential. That’s why we recommend investing in the right tool.
Driving more donations during the summer requires a plan. It also needs consistent action and the willingness to experiment with what works.
We hope our ultimate guide helps you in the process. Follow our tips, implement some of the tools, and watch as more donations start to come in.