Optimizing the Summer Slowdown: 7 Tips for Nonprofits

Summer often brings a lull in activities for many nonprofits. However, this “slow season” can be an excellent opportunity for your organization to regroup and get organized for the busy giving season ahead. In this blog post, we’ll cover seven activities that will help your nonprofit make the most out of the summer slowdown and boost your year-end fundraising.

Clean Up Your Database

Summertime is the best time to clean up your nonprofit’s database. With most large mailings taking place at the end of the year, you want to make sure your mailing lists are up to date. Some of the best ways to clean up your database include running an NCOA cleaning, merging your duplicates, and checking for missing data. A clean database is a happy database, and when you go to run your year-end mailings, you will have peace of mind that your messages are getting to the right people at the right time.

Thank Your Donors

It is recommended to thank your donors at least 7 times throughout the year. Summer is a perfect time to get creative and think of ways to thank your donors beyond the acknowledgment letter. For example, write handwritten thank-you cards, give them a shoutout on social media, or put together a thank-you video with your team. If you find yourself slowing down in the summer, putting extra time into creative thank-yous can help improve your donor retention during your year-end appeal.

Plan your Year-End Content

As the busy year-end rolls around, you might end up scrambling to share your content. Summer is the perfect time to get organized and start planning your year-end content. For example, think about the message of your year-end appeal, the timing of mailings, and social media and email content to support your campaigns. You can create a lot of your content ahead of time, such as the copy and the images, so when it comes time to run your campaigns, everything is ready to go. Hint: You can use tools like DonorSnap’s Automated Task Manager (ATM)  to help automate some of your year-end emails to save you even more time! For example, you can set up a series of urgent donation reminders to go out as the year closes to an end. With ATM you can set these up to only send to people who have not yet donated. 

Analyze Your Fundraising Campaign Data

Having a nonprofit CRM can provide valuable insights to your organization. During your slower months, take advantage of the reports in your database to analyze your previous year’s fundraising. There are many reports built into DonorSnap that will help you strategize and plan for the busy season again. Want to learn more about some of our favorite reports in DonorSnap? Read Top 4 Fundraising Reports Your Nonprofit Should Watch Here.

Create an Annual Report/Impact Report

While you are evaluating your nonprofit’s data, you might want to think about putting together an Annual Report or an Impact Report. Nonprofit Annual Reports can be a powerful fundraising tool for you to show off your accomplishments throughout the year. Summer is the best time to put these together as you will have all of your data from the previous year ready to go, plus some extra time to put it together in a thoughtful way. Want to learn more about nonprofit annual reports? Read What to Include in Your Nonprofit Annual Reports here.

Re-Engage Lapsed Donors

There are many reasons donors stop giving to your organization. It is worth your nonprofit’s time to take a look at your lapsed donors and develop a plan for re-engaging them. The summer is a great time to do this because your lapsed donors will probably have fewer messages coming in from other nonprofits. During this quiet time, you can think of thoughtful ways to reach out to your donors and find out what might be going on. From here, you can develop a strategic plan to get your nonprofit back on their radar.

Assess your Current Tech Stack

Your nonprofit likely uses a number of different tools to keep your operations running. There might be systems that are working great for you and others that you want to switch. Summer is a good time to assess what technology you are using and decide if you need to brush up on how to use them or switch to a new system. You don’t want to be learning a new tool in the middle of a busy giving season, so if you want to switch to a new CRM, consider doing that now. 

If you are currently using DonorSnap, but don’t feel like you are using it to it’s full potential, take some time to attend some of our training webinars. For a general overview, check out the Getting Started with DonorSnap series. If reporting is challenging for you, we recommend the DataMiner Platinum trainings, which will take your database to a whole new level. Likewise, consider brushing up on your training with other tools you use so you can best leverage them for the busy giving season. 

Final Thoughts

The slower summer months present a valuable opportunity for nonprofits to strengthen their fundraising efforts. Nonprofits should focus on the following activities to optimize the slower summer months:

  1. Clean up your database
  2. Find creative ways to thank your donors
  3. Plan year-end content 
  4. Analyze your fundraising campaign data
  5. Put together annual reports
  6. Re-engage lapsed donors
  7. Assess your current tech stack

This summer, embrace the downtime and take strategic steps to make a lasting impact on your nonprofit’s mission and growth.

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