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Summer Appeal to Your Nonprofit Donor List

Summer is almost upon us, and the living is easy. In some respects.  If you don’t do a mid-year appeal to your donor list, I recommend that you consider doing it this summer.

Most nonprofit organizations do their direct response (mail, e-mail, social media) appeal to donors near the Christmas holiday. The competition for your donors’ attention is quite strong at that time of year. Many people, particularly women age 55 and over, donate to five, six, seven charities and don’t necessarily give to the same group every year during that Thanksgiving – Christmas interval.  This is why I recommend that my clients, friends and peek-a-boo folks do a follow up in January or February to lapsed donors asking for their consideration.

Summer is another opportunity to appeal to your loyal donors and lapsed donors.  Some of you might consider prospecting for new donors this time of year. But in this blog post, my focus is on messages about your mission and what you’re delivering to your clients/customers that your donors will welcome and might make a second gift.

Some things for you to consider in this appeal

  • Make it part of a newsletter, or follow a few weeks after your newsletter informing friends and donors what your nonprofit has been doing to deliver service to people who benefit from your mission
  • Focus the pitch on the mission
  • Don’t focus on “needs” of your nonprofit
  • Tell a compelling story about how a particular individual benefited recently from a service you provide
  • In telling a story, be sure to either get written permission to tell it, or change the names to protect the innocent

For those donors who did contribute to your last annual campaign, thank them now. Let them know that you know they did in fact give within the last twelve months. That you’re not pulling a fast one, tricking them into a second gift. That the purpose is to do more. Because there are people out there who aren’t feeling the benefit of the easing recession. There are still people getting foreclosed on their home. There are still millions of people doing part-time work, looking forward to the economy improving and getting back to working full time.

Those of us fortunate enough to be working, or retired with a pension and a bit of a cushion, might be ready to do a bit more.

And you won’t know the answer ’til you ask the question.

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