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5 Ways to Make the Most of the Summer Slump at Your Nonprofit

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By Hannah Durbin

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Published June 6, 2022 Reading Time: 6 minutes

Summer is historically a slower season for fundraising, but it offers nonprofits a unique opportunity to focus on the activities they weren’t able to prioritize during busier times of the year. 

Below are five important activities that can impact your progress towards your organizational goals. Work these into your summer plan to make the most of the months ahead.

1. Catch Up on All the Latest Data 

Every year, Classy releases data-packed reports with highly actionable insights about the state of the social sector. As helpful as these reports are, we know that it can be challenging to find time in your day to explore all of the available content.  

With a little extra time on your hands, summer is the perfect opportunity to buckle down and see what these reports have to offer. Instead of skimming the executive summary, dig in and become familiar with the data and takeaways so that you’re ready to apply them in the specific ways that will impact your organization.

The State of Modern Philanthropy 2022: The Path to Lasting Donor Connections

We recognize that the journey to successful fundraising isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, so we invite you to take ownership of your reading experience in our first-ever interactive report. The State of Modern Philanthropy 2022 includes over 130 fresh data points to guide you along the journey to meaningful and lasting donor relationships.

Confidently attract new supporters, convert them into donors, and retain their support for the long run with Classy platform data and insights collected from 54,000 active campaigns.

 

Why America Gives 2021: The Lasting Impact of a Pandemic on Donor Experience 

COVID-19 triggered major shifts across all industries that heavily impacted the behavior and preferences of donors and consumers alike. Our fourth-annual report is carefully curated to help you decipher between donors’ temporary reactions to the pandemic and preferences that will last.

To better understand what’s ahead for the nonprofit sector in this day and age, explore the survey responses of 1,000 U.S. donors to remain confident in how to connect with supporters in the face of uncertainty.

The 2022 Fundraising Event Experience Report 

We conducted a third-party survey of over 1,000 fundraising event attendees in February 2022 to understand how nonprofits can confidently engage donors in the ways they prefer. The result is a report that pairs first-hand virtual and in-person attendee sentiments with compelling data to help you navigate the next era of fundraising events.

The Recurring Donor Sentiment Report

Whether you have a recurring giving option or a robust recurring giving program, our Recurring Donor Sentiment Report brings you direct feedback from over 1,000 recurring donors to optimize your efforts.

Learn exactly what motivates them to give, incentivizes them to stay, and causes them to abandon their recurring gift subscriptions.

2. Enhance Your Donation Experience

As your larger spring fundraising efforts come to a close, set aside time to evaluate your nonprofit’s performance and identify areas of opportunity for the second half of the year.

Since summer marks the halfway point between January and December, it’s the perfect time to reflect on your fundraising metrics, like conversion rate, donor count, and average gift size, to see how you’re pacing toward your goals.

Brainstorm a few ways to elevate your donation experience as you head into fall, and consider these simple enhancements to your campaigns to help you raise more:

Offer More Flexible Payment Options

Payment options, or the lack thereof, can make or break a donor’s decision to give. In The State of Modern Philanthropy 2022 report, we saw that gift sizes increase when donors have options, including digital wallets, credit card, PayPal, Venmo, ACH, and cryptocurrency.

When analyzing Classy’s proprietary platform data, we found that the average one-time gift is nearly 1.5X more when nonprofits offer ACH, PayPal, and digital wallet payments. Plus, recurring gifts on Classy made through ACH are 29% larger than those made with a credit card.

Ensure your nonprofit is on track to convert by offering a streamlined checkout experience with simple-to-navigate donation forms. You could also consider prompting quick action with donation pop-ups or modals on your website.

Refresh Your Branding

Your branding is the first impression most donors have of your organization. The colors, visuals, font style, and photography you use must help tell your story and establish a sense of trust and familiarity with donors.

Take a step back and ask yourself how well your branding aligns with your current mission. If it’s been a while since you refreshed your look and feel, it could be time for an overhaul. Here are a few factors that could signal a rebranding opportunity:

  • An updated mission statement
  • Launched or retired programs
  • Changes in leadership
  • New partnerships

If any of these signals reflect a recent shift in your organization, dive into the expert advice of Katie Stotts, strategist at the Knight Eady creative agency, to refresh or rebrand your nonprofit like a pro.

Optimize for Mobile

Donors are likely to land on your campaign from a phone. In fact, 28% of U.S. adults are fully smartphone-dependent with no other form of internet access. Optimizing your fundraising campaign for mobile is a must.

On Classy, mobile devices override desktops in most cases, and the donors who use mobile often find charitable causes through social media. Ensure you’re offering a seamless experience for all donors, regardless of their devices, by testing and navigating your checkout flow to address any potential points of friction.

Here are a few simple ways to make your campaign more mobile-friendly:

  • Identify the ideal file size for visuals on your page to avoid skewed images
  • Incorporate multiple opportunities to make a gift
  • Keep your text short and sweet
  • Lean into mobile-friendly payment options, like PayPal and Venmo

Explore these seven tips for more ideas to optimize your campaign for a mobile audience.

3. Get Ahead of Giving Tuesday

On Classy, 10X more donors are acquired on Giving Tuesday compared to an average day of the year. Plus, nonprofits see 2X higher conversion rates compared to any other day on average. Get ahead of the curve and start taking small, measurable steps to prepare for the influx of donors this Giving Tuesday.

Starting early can set you up to be more creative with your design, impactful with your messaging, and targeted in your marketing efforts. Take these steps to begin working toward your most successful Giving Tuesday yet:

Find the Right Corporate Partner 

Finding the right partner for your Giving Tuesday campaign takes time, research, and preparation. The first step is nailing down which type of corporate partnership makes the most sense for your organization. Your options could include:

  • Large financial gifts and matching programs
  • Campaign and cause marketing
  • In-kind sponsorship
  • Employee giving and volunteer programs

From there, follow these three steps to identify, pitch, and secure a Giving Tuesday corporate partner that will amplify and support your impact.

Prep Your Giving Tuesday Social Calendar 

Giving Tuesday is a global movement that started from a hashtag, so it’s only right to start thinking about your social media strategy for this massive giving day.

To get ahead, start brainstorming:

  • Which hashtags will help you achieve the broadest reach
  • How to capitalize on photos and video to spark engagement
  • What content resonates with your audience
  • Ways to authentically connect with donors

Create content ahead of time to save yourself a lot of stress in the days leading up to Giving Tuesday. Think about the messages you want to share, and then create a document with all the text, photos, video, and graphics you plan to post. This will help you identify which holes you still need to fill and how your content will come across to donors.

Save Time With a Campaign Template

Gain back time and control this Giving Tuesday with a campaign template. Do any of the following statements resonate with your organization? If so, templates might be the time-saving solution you’ve been looking for.

Reasons to Consider Campaign Templates

  • We host a run/walk/ride event, multi-city event, or event with multiple partners as part of our year-end fundraising strategy
  • We work with multiple partners, corporations, or universities to achieve our fundraising goals
  • We are part of a chaptered organization or foundation
  • We host a campaign series that stretches across email, social media, and digital ads

Set your campaign imagery, messaging, custom questions, promo codes, email content, and branding to create a foundation for multiple campaigns with the same look and feel. It takes just a few clicks to update your template and streamline changes across all associated campaigns.

4. Nurture Donor Relationships

The most cost-effective way to ensure the long-term health of your organization is to prioritize donor retention. Take advantage of the time you have this summer to establish meaningful relationships with your supporters and master impactful interactions that resonate.

When you execute a donor stewardship plan strategically, the natural results of those efforts increase donors’ sense of belonging to your cause. Start by segmenting your donors to define your strategy. From there, you can:

  • Identify what motivates your donors to give
  • Demonstrate and celebrate donors’ impact
  • Introduce donors to your extended network
  • Thank new and returning donors with timely outreach

Be intentional about each interaction and remain involved with donors throughout the summer to ensure they’re locked into your mission and hungry to support your work for the long term.

5. Plan an Easy, Affordable Summer Event 

Summer is the perfect time to supplement your large-scale fundraising efforts, like 5K races or winter galas, with easier, cheaper options that get donors together to enjoy the warmer weather.

There are countless summer events your nonprofit can host, but a few ideas might be:

  • Community yard sale
  • Concession stand
  • Bake sale
  • Car wash
  • Happy hour

Consider how you can expand the reach of your event by including a virtual component. On Classy Live, nonprofits can engage attendees both digitally and in person to help open the door to participation on a global scale. For more fundraising event ideas with minimal overhead costs, explore these 14 Easy Nonprofit Fundraising Ideas.

Head Into Summer With a Plan for Success

There will be natural peaks and valleys of giving throughout the year, but you can use these slower seasons to prepare for the influx of donations to come in the remaining months.

For more ways to amplify your fundraising efforts this summer, register for the Collaborative. It’s not too late to reserve your in-person or virtual seat for two full days of conversation, hands-on workshops, and immersive networking with top industry professionals.

Posted in Fundraising

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