Six Things You can Do This Summer to Help You Win in the 4th Quarter! Summertime Lesson #5: Get Deep with Some Donors. Do Something Crazy!

You have roughly six weeks left in your summer.  And since summer gives many of us the opportunity to do things a little differently than the rest of the year, why not try something a little different with your donors?

Here’s what I mean.  There is a lot of pressure on you during the year to cultivate your donors for some significant gifts.  Sometimes this can pressure you to think first about the money rather than the donor.  This especially happens during times of economic stress for your organization.

Well, before any of that starts to hit you, why not plan to spend some enjoyable times with a few donors?   With the remaining weeks left in the summer, commit to spending quality relational time with at least one of your donors each week.  These opportunities should be spent purely relationally.  No asking, no pressure, just getting to know the donor.

Here are some ideas:

  1. Go to a ballgame—Yep, call a donor who loves baseball or soccer and take him out to watch a game.  Take his spouse too, if she would like to go.  I used to do this when I was a development officer for a non-profit in Philadelphia.  I cannot tell you how great a time it was to really get to know a donor.  Think about it…you have 2-4 hours of time spent doing one thing.  That’s an entire afternoon or evening to talk, laugh and bond.
  2. Schedule a visit to one of your programs—Summer can be a great time to invite donors to see what is going on first-hand with your programs.  Whether you are doing something local or have programs overseas, this is a wonderful time to invite donors to see what you are doing and how you are making an impact.  If it’s something local, invite them out for dinner afterwards and get their impressions.
  3. Attend a local cultural event—Take a donor to a museum, concert, play, or other cultural event in your area.  If you know the donor likes a certain type of artist or music you can tailor it perfectly to her tastes.  What a great way to show a donor you “know” her and really care about her interests.
  4. Introduce your donors to one another—One of the great things you can do for your donors is to introduce them to other donors.  Of course you are taking great care in making sure they would have some interest in each other besides caring for your organization, but I’ve seen some amazing things when MGO’s can do this right.  Whether you invite them out for a backyard barbecue, a formal dinner or even a weekend getaway, bringing people together who have similar interests is a great way to get to know your donors in a deeper way.

I’m sure this list could go on and on, but the point is to commit to deepening the relationship with one donor per week for the rest of the summer…even if it’s only for iced coffee at your local coffee shop.

Quality time with your donors now will pay huge dividends with them later when they are ready to make an investment in your organization.



About Jeff Schreifels and Richard Perry

Jeff Schreifels and Richard Perry have over 55 years of experience fundraising for non-profits. Richard Perry was co-owner of Domain Group until 2005. Jeff Schreifels was a Senior Strategist for Domain Group for 12 years. They came together a few years ago to start Veritus Group, a full-service major gift fundraising agency. Veritus Group has a unique, data-driven approach unlike any agency focused on major gifts. Jeff and Richard are passionate about their work, passionate about life and hopes this blog will provide you with insights and tangible benefits for you and your work. Thank you for reading!
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