How to keep your fundraising on track this summer 😎

Are you finding it extra difficult to stay focused on work right now?

You’re not alone.

A study by Captivate Network found that we’re a whopping 45% more likely to be distracted at work during the summer months.

This can feel like a tough time of year to fundraise! I know how difficult it can be to stay motivated and keep working to reach your goals when it feels like everyone else in the world is sittin’ on the dock of the bay.

That’s why I’m sharing five ways you can keep up your momentum during July and August – and put the summer fun back in fundraising.

     1. Stick with the plan

Having your plan clearly laid out for the summer can be a real relief.

A great fundraising plan doesn’t have to be long, or complex – in fact, a simple plan focused on a handful of key priorities is often more effective than a long, complicated one.

Are you stuck on creating a plan? The slower pace of summer can be a great time to start getting in the habit of becoming planful in your fundraising approach.

You can always start small - is there something you are already doing, like donor meetings, or a special event? Can you create a simple timeline in an Excel spreadsheet, document what you are doing when, and look for just one way to improve it?

     2. Get to know your donors better

Speaking of donor meetings, summer is the prime time to land that coveted face to face meeting with a major donor.

I find the pace of business tends to slow a little, and everyone seems more relaxed and reflective – it can be a wonderful time to engage a donor in a deeper conversation about their giving, and what changes they want to see in the world.

     3. Polish up your skills

I’ve been fundraising for 25 years now, and I still regularly invest in professional development so I can make sure I’m staying current, and operating at the top of my game.

I love to take courses or self-directed learning programs over the summer – not to mention catching up on all the reading I’ve been meaning to do during the year.

You could take some of this downtime to create your own personal professional development plan. In what areas do you hope to develop to improve your fundraising, or further your career?

     4. Get an accountability buddy

Finding it hard to keep yourself accountable to your fundraising plan, and meet your goals? Think about getting an accountability buddy.

This can be especially helpful if you are working in a small shop - in addition to lessening the isolation you may feel as a fundraising team of one, having an accountability buddy can help stretch and challenge you when you are tempted to give in to the summer doldrums.

Finding an accountability buddy can be simple – I’ll bet you have at least one like-minded fundraiser in your network who is interested in checking in on a regular basis to cheer each other on, and hold one another accountable for setting goals, and meeting your deadlines.

     5. Take. Your. Vacation.

A recent report revealed that the U.S. is the second worst country IN THE WORLD when it comes to paid vacation days.

And not only that – we don’t even take the small amount of vacation time we’re entitled to!

Our organizations are dealing with a significant burnout problem – and sacrificing one’s health in service of a cause is a common narrative in the nonprofit sector.

While vacation is not a cure-all for burnout, taking a proper break and completely unplugging from work is a critical part of the rest you need to be the fabulous fundraiser and leader you are.

Have I missed anything? What else are you doing to keep your fundraising fresh during these lazy, hazy days of summer? And perhaps most importantly – have you booked your vacation yet?

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