Your Plan for Summer Fun(draising)
While summer is a few weeks off as far as the calendar is concerned, the recently observed Memorial Day holiday in the United States unofficially kicks off summer in most Americans' minds. (My non-U.S. readers are welcome to use this excuse or any other they can come up with.) For many workers in nonprofit organizations, the much-anticipated vacation seems like it will actually become reality, and "summer hours" may be a perk you enjoy.
Well, I hate to be the one to dispel your excellent mood, but summer is also a great time to roll up your sleeves and dig into the work of fundraising that will make the next several months even better. So, take your vacation, enjoy your weekends, raise a glass of iced tea in gratitude for the sunshine—and make time for these important, but often overlooked, summer activities.
Visit your program, literally or as best you can. We're fundraisers. Our work takes us to the office, on donor visits and to events. But make sure it also takes you to "ground zero"—the place where a donor's money is being invested. That may be a children's center, a forest, a courtroom—the possibilities are endless. But reconnecting with the reason you do what you do is essential to keep the passion for the work, and it's your passion as much as your techniques that compel donors to be part of the project. If you can't go onsite, do the next best thing. Set up a call with some field workers and ask them to tell you what's got them excited and what's holding them back. Re-watch your company videos. Reread the stories that have come in during the last year—even those that were not usable for your fundraising—and see what is making your field workers excited.
Pamela Barden is an independent fundraising consultant focused on direct response. You can read more of her fundraising columns here.