Fifth in a series: Six Things You Can Do This Summer to Help You Win in the 4th Quarter!
Summer.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. (Remember, it’s not just about the money!)
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’re doing something local or have programs overseas, this is a wonderful time to invite donors to see what you’re doing and how you’re 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 MGOs 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’re ready to make an investment in your organization.
Read the whole series — Summertime Lessons:

  1. Summertime Lesson #1: Create New Plans for Donors Behind Goal
  2. Summertime Lesson #2: Figure Out Who Your Donors Are
  3. Summertime Lesson #3: Get Ahead of the Game!
  4. Summertime Lesson #4: Learn Something New!
  5. Summertime Lesson #5: Get Deep with Some Donors. Do Something Crazy! (this post)
  6. Summertime Lesson #6: Get Some Rest and Get Inspired!