Summertime Blues – What’s a Fundraiser to Do?

For some organizations summertime is “downtime,” in terms of fundraising. The special events of spring are over, families are on vacation, and year-end appeal letters won’t go out for months. So what’s a fundraiser to do? Here are some ideas.

Use the summer months to review lists of current and prospective donors. Take time to consider their relationship with your institution or organization. What would be the best way to increase their engagement and giving? Who knows them? What are their interests? Why do they give? Take time to meet with select donors, especially those who give year after year. Summer months are ideal for a small get together at a supporter’s home where information can be shared about programs, advocacy, challenges, or growth. Identify an ideal host and guests who would enjoy each other’s company. Engage your host and support him or her in making the gathering come together. Move quickly, as summer will be over in the blink of an eye. For a free copy of our friendraiser checklist, please give us a call at (901) 522-8727 or email

Share Your VisionIf you are an executive director or college president, take time to meet with individual board members. You may want to focus on those who are most engaged or least involved. Share your vision for the coming year. Ask for feedback regarding the role of the board. Work with your board chair to create a plan for improving board meetings and increasing the impact your board makes. Host a few members for lunch and thank them for their leadership.


Summer is also a great time to write your year-end appeal letter, to review and perhaps segment your mailing list. Spend some time reviewing the benefits your offer to donors and as appropriate update these to increase their value and encourage giving. Review the benefits that are offered to those businesses and foundations who sponsor your programs, events, and activities. Talk with your sponsors to learn why they sponsor your organization or institution and what could help increase the value they receive as a benefit of sponsorship. You may be surprised to learn why your sponsors are involved. The reason may not be what you think!

Pull out a proposal you submitted during the past year and read it with fresh eyes. What do you think? Is it clear? Would you give or encourage giving if you received the proposal? What should be rewritten? Sharpen your pencil and revise as appropriate.

Pull out your calendar and schedule your work for the remainder of the year. What do you and your team of staff members and volunteers need to accomplish in order to meet your fundraising goals? Plan now, for December 31st will be here before you know it.

© Copyright Mel and Pearl Shaw.
Mel and Pearl Shaw are the owners of Saad & Shaw. They help non-profit organizations and institutions rethink revenue sources. They are the authors of How to Solicit a Gift: Turning Prospects into Donors. Visit them at or call (901) 522-8727.

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