Blog Post By: Christie Howard
Where did summer go? It feels like just last week we were preparing for vacations, summer camps, and what proved to be a chaotic summer schedule. And although summer as a whole has flown by, why is it that the last couple of weeks before school officially starts back up always feels like fundraising purgatory? As fundraising professionals, we are feeling the lag in sponsorship commitments and event ticket sales. In some cases, they have come to a halt altogether. We have expressed before how the timing of your fundraising event should strategically align with when your target audience will be able to attend, and this is still the trend going into the Fall. The same can be said for the timing of your communications as our donors and sponsors are compartmentalizing the ways they give and support with the seasons of their personal lives.
Although we are all feeling the frustration of lower email open rates and unreturned phone calls, consistency (and faith in our past donors) is key. Put yourself in their shoes and remember that at the end of the day, we are all human and all experiencing this end-of-summer chaos. If you feel like you are struggling to balance the many challenges that life is throwing your way, chances are your potential donors and sponsors are feeling the same and have plans to catch back up!
My personal inbox is inundated with emails regarding my three kids going to three different schools, two of whom are starting at new schools. I am also planning for a busy fall travel season with STUDIO 4Forty and thinking about how that will affect my kids’ activity schedules. As you can imagine, this comes with lots of stress and a fear of the unknown. But, like many donors who may be experiencing similar situations, I fully intend on catching up on those fundraising and event-related emails at the bottom of my inbox once my kids are back in school and we are back on a somewhat more consistent schedule.
So as we think about the timing of our communications, and how we are engaging with our communities, we don’t want to overwhelm, but we also don’t want to be overlooked. The hope is that our past donors will go looking for our event in their emails or on social media, but how can we be sure? It can be a true balancing act!
Over the past year, we have seen our nonprofit organization clients struggle with timing, whether it relates to communicating during certain times of the year (much like now) or balancing communication between a multitude of events and fundraising campaigns. Creating a solid PR & Marketing plan and staying consistent with outreach still proves to be the best method. This season is shifting, with summer coming to a close, so continue to embrace that change and don’t be afraid to adjust your strategies with the adjustments of each season. Keep going with your communication plans and treat those donors like you would a close friend. Check in, circle back, and listen to what it is they want and need.
If you are one of our STUDIO 4Forty clients, we are happy to help you build a custom PR & Marketing timeline around your events. If you are not a current client of ours, you can join in on the fundraising fun by contacting our Director of Business Development, Kim Perry, to learn more!