Summer is around the corner, and this is the time of year most of us, including your donors, will carve out time to unplug and/or travel. However, don’t let this “downtime” mean that your donors don’t hear from your organization and fall completely off their radar. Thinking of creative and unique ways to engage your donors during the summer may not be at the top of your to-do list, but it should definitely be on the list! Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing!
Five ways to keep your donors engaged this summer:
Use this time to add stewardship touchpoints by holding stewardship calling sessions. Many organizations, especially colleges and universities, have access to students and/or volunteers that can be operationalized to call donors with a “Thank You” message. This is a great way to surprise and delight donors and keep your organization in their minds. Don’t forget to leave a voicemail if the donor doesn’t answer! 🙂
Send impact reports, photos, and/or videos. If your fiscal year ends June 30th, preparing any type of impact report to demonstrate how private support made a difference this year is a great way to engage your donors. Compile video messages or photos from students studying abroad and send them to the donors who make this possible. Send photos of research labs and tell stories of the discoveries happening year-round. If special summer activities are happening at your organization, send photos and stories to your donors.
Highlight loyal donors by sending a special mailing celebrating their consistent, generous support of your organization. Thank them for 5, 10, 15, 20 years of giving, and for those that have given for more than 25 years, have someone such as a Vice Chancellor send a handwritten note. If you have donors that have given for 50 years or more, having a Chancellor phone and thank them for reaching their Golden anniversary of giving is a wonderful touch. Summer is a great time to utilize leadership as leadership often has more time to be involved, and it puts us in a great place strategically for fall solicitation campaigns.
Arrange specially designed tours for your donors and their family and friends who are visiting so they can show off your organization. One of our DRG teammates recently created a scavenger hunt for a donor family who hosted their family reunion on campus! The donor’s children and grandchildren had to go and find all the special places across campus that their grandparents, over the decades, had supported with their many gifts to the university.
Run a social media challenge! This is an easy and fun way to generate happy content with minimal work. Paint the country your colors, coordinate a scavenger hunt around regional events with your volunteers, or have people show their colors on vacation, whatever you choose. These ideas allow people to participate anywhere at any time and don’t require anything more than 30 seconds to take the picture and another 30 to post.
Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list of ways to engage with your community over the summer. But we do hope these ideas will help jumpstart you and your team’s creativity! Whatever you do, make sure it fits the theme of summer fun, and that it engages your donors, and lets them know how grateful you are for their generosity! What do you plan to work into your summer plans? Please share with us – drop in the comments below and let us know your top summer engagement activity.