The big season for charity events may have wound down just as the thermometer has inched upward, but that's no reason to take a vacation from staying in touch with donors. These great summertime stay-in-touch ideas will give your stakeholders a break from a hard push for donations without letting your charity fade from their memory. Lighten up your email campaign, have fun with a direct mail approach and give your social media a seasonal makeover.
Your year-round communication plan should ensure donors know they remain top-of-mind and that their gifts are important and appreciated, no matter the calendar page. The slower pace of summer is also the time to send those handwritten, personalized notes to your biggest supporters, letting them know how much they are appreciated.
Give Your Emails a Seasonal Makeover
1. Make them mobile. Most nonprofits realize the critical role that email campaigns can play in engaging donors throughout the year. But a growing segment of your stakeholders — as many as 80 percent by some estimates — expect to be able to view those fundraising emails on their smartphones. This is even more critical during summer when vacations, increased time outdoors and recreational activities can take people away from their usual computer or laptop screen.
2. Keep it short and sweet. In addition to ensuring you've chosen a mobile-friendly email template, there are a few other things to keep in mind when emailing your stakeholder list during warm weather months. For example, shorten up your usual content into a more breezy, summer-time version. Also, consider adding a fun twist only for the summer months, such as a summer-only trivia game or warm weather contest. Use your email campaign to share a short story or quote taken directly from a client. For more, read the article we posted with 10 email marketing tips for cultivating major donors.
3. Do a survey. Take the opportunity to survey stakeholders about how they use social media, then use the responses to target your social media campaigns. The key is to keep donors engaged in your content, so that when fall starts to arrive, you have not lost readership.
4. Show them what you're up to. Your summer email campaigns can also be the place where you review all the great things your charity or organization is doing. While you don't want donors to think you no longer need their funds, summer can offer a unique opportunity to showcase activities without the distraction of a fundraising event around the corner. Briefly tell what’s working, while also giving examples of what’s missing and how more could be done if more funds were available.
Get Creative with Direct Mail
5. Send a postcard. What do people send while their on vacation? Postcards! While electronic communication is critically important, now could be the time to show off your creativity with a more traditional direct mail campaign. Donors on vacation are likely to spend time once back home deliberately going through each piece of mail received while they were away. Grab their attention with a die-cut postcard campaign sporting a summertime theme, or send a packet of seeds and thank your stakeholders for helping your organization grow.
6. Coordinate with other campaigns. Consider tying a creative direct mail campaign into a digital email campaign or social media efforts for added punch. Planned correctly, your summer efforts across multiple communications channel could cause a sense of anticipation and excitement among donors.
7. Post regularly. Social media should be a year-round endeavor, but that doesn't mean you can't change things up for the summer months. Take a page out of your email campaign book and keep things shorter and sweeter over the summer, while still posting regularly. Be sure to include photos that are illustrative of your organization's good work, along with quotes.
8. Try something new. Try something new and take more risks than you typically would at other times of the year, since your stakeholders are likely to be in a different frame of mind than they are when the snow is flying. Contests, surveys and other tools can help you keep stakeholders engaged while providing a wealth of additional information for fine-tuning your future social media efforts.
9. Research your constituents. Make use of research you have done through direct mail and email campaigns to identify which social media channels are favored by your stakeholders, then target your efforts accordingly. Monitor social media changes from three or four organization like your own that you admire and see how they approach the summer months. Study their examples to see what works and doesn't work, then adapt it to your needs.
Wrap Up Summer Giving
10. Host a summer event. There are other ways to say in touch throughout the summer months. While major events can wait till fall, consider Inviting a select group of supporters to participate in a summer event. Invite them to the company picnic, a special day at a camp or other children's event. Suggest they stop by to see your workers in action at food pantries or take part in a charity walkathon.
Regardless of what road you take, the key is to stay in touch with stakeholders and keep them engaged in helping your organization continue its mission. Whether you hold a golf outing for donors or simply change up your social media approach, take advantage of this slower time of the year.