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Summer fundraising campaigns: How to get started + 5 ideas

May 31, 2021
Take advantage of the summer weather like this family by organizing fun summer fundraisers.

After the productive excitement of your nonprofit organization’s year-end fundraising and optimistic planning for the new year, keep the momentum going into the summer. This season is an ideal time for fundraisers to increase revenue and help your nonprofit soar toward its end-of-the-year goals.

Turn up the heat this summer and create a fundraising plan to attract prospects, engage existing donors, build awareness, and plant the seeds for sustaining your nonprofit’s success.

Let’s take a look at how to get started with crafting an effective summer fundraising strategy for your organization in this guide:

Determine your summer fundraising campaign goals

To create a compelling summer campaign that will generate the greatest impact in terms of financial growth, donor engagement, and awareness, evaluate your organization’s needs and figure out your fundraising objectives.

More specifically, take the time to answer the following questions for your summer strategy:

  • What are you trying to accomplish? Your answer will depend on your nonprofit’s priorities and purpose. For instance, you could be looking to raise funds to support a new initiative or aiming to expand your donor base. Take a look at your past fundraising efforts and organizational data to inform your goal-setting.
  • What would your ideal results look like? Be sure to establish relevant metrics that will help your nonprofit determine whether it’s on track to meet its fundraising goals. The right data can drive improvements in your future summer campaigns as well.
  • Who is your target audience? A crucial element to any fundraising campaign involves understanding your supporters. Use your existing donor profiles to discover their engagement preferences and what fundraising efforts appeal most to them.
  • Will you prioritize one-time donations or recurring gifts? While every contribution is valuable to your nonprofit, recurring donations can offer sustainable revenue and encourage donor engagement that lasts over time.

Use these answers as a guide to create an optimized summer fundraising campaign that drives the most success and growth for your organization.

Choose a summer campaign theme

A successful fundraising campaign goes above and beyond simply communicating your organization’s financial needs. As you plan your summer fundraising strategy, develop a theme and call to action that are compelling, donor-centric, and tell a personal story.

Conveying your nonprofit’s on-the-ground impact will help donors emotionally connect with your purpose. Imagery can create powerful, instant attachments between donors and your subject, so choose an individual whose story represents your organization’s work and add photos to get your story noticed when posted across multiple communication channels. These visuals should capture the impact of donations by featuring beneficiaries and your initiatives in action.

To maintain consistency and maximize the effectiveness of your summer campaign theme, plan to use similar messaging and imagery on your donation page and through the entire giving process.

Strategize your fundraising communications

Once you’ve determined your campaign theme, it’s time to strategize your fundraising appeal accordingly. Thoughtful and meaningful promotion is key to optimizing the impact and success of your campaign efforts.

To create an effective appeal, follow these best practices:

  • Feature donor-driven, inspiring content.
  • Share a relevant story with a compelling beginning, middle, and end.
  • Focus on the impact of donor gifts.
  • Specify an urgent call to action.
  • Include engaging visuals.

The more high-quality the content you create, the more likely your supporters will be to share it with their personal networks online and in-person, thereby expanding awareness of your organization. To further encourage their participation, consider incorporating a peer-to-peer element to your campaign and empowering your supporters to take the lead in fundraising for your cause.

Get creative with your summer fundraising ideas

Take advantage of the season to get creative and try out some new fundraising ideas in your upcoming campaign. To get started brainstorming for your summer fundraising, consider these popular ideas:

  1. Host a summer barbecue, pool party, ice cream party, or block party.
  2. Coordinate a car wash.
  3. Plan a walk-a-thon or swim-a-thon.
  4. Launch an interactive photo contest on social media.
  5. Send your donors a summer-themed newsletter.

Encourage your supporters to get out into the sun and engage with your organization’s purpose this summer. Plan an event that reflects your work and appeals to your donors’ interests.

Maximizing your summer fundraising success

This summer, host fundraisers to generate added momentum that will boost your nonprofit toward the end of another successful year of fundraising. Reference these steps and suggestions as you develop a summer fundraising campaign that will meet and exceed your organization’s goals.

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