How Seasonal is Fundraising Really?

As the mercury rises, expectations among fundraisers drop. How can summer appeals compete with all the distractions in your donors’ lives? It’s natural to compensate by setting modest targets and saving your best stories for the fall appeal season when you’ll have everyone’s undivided attention.

But there’s a problem with this way of thinking. Are we making fundraising more seasonal than it actually is? Some nonprofits we work with bring their strongest cases to their supporters throughout the year. They don’t see a dip in July. Their supporters are supposed to be on the beach, but their checks keep flowing in.

Aside from obvious sweet spots like calendar year-end (which is more about deductions than distractions), success ultimately comes down to the value of your message, not when you deliver it. If you have something really compelling to say to your donors, would they ignore you?

We urge you to look again at how you adjust for seasonality in your planning. Test the notion that what you say is more important than when you say it. Find out if the right case for support still resonates during ‘noisy’ periods like summer vacation time, Thanksgiving or, come to think of it, general elections. In our experience, people who care deeply about your cause are always going to listen if your message interests them. It might just brighten up their summer. And yours.