Songs for Summer – Our Favorite Tunes for Friendraisers!
Songs of the Summer
Really lasting networks are like a group of friends
In honor of summer road-trips and days at the beach, we’ve put together our non-profit Best Friends playlist for the summer.
You’ve Got a Friend
Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall, all you have to do is call, and they’ll be there. That’s a real friend – there’s no “bad time” to reach out, and they want to hear from you. Are you cultivating relationships that are meaningful to donors year-round, or just asking once a year around the Holidays with some guilt wrapped in obligation?
Your donors don’t feel pressured to donate, and you’re likely to stay interested in each other without feeling like you’re always being pressured.
Talk to your friends – your donors – frankly and personally. Reach out to them when things are both good and bad. Don’t just turn to them when you need funds, and don’t take them for granted. Donors, like friends, want you to succeed. They like hearing from you. Take Carole King’s advice and reach out, no matter the season.
With a Little Help From My Friends
Are you sad because you’re on your own? No! You get by with a little help from your friends. When you’re so close to your fundraising goal and you need that extra bit to make it, reach out to your friends and say, “Hey, we’re this close and we need you to close the gap!”
Give them exact numbers: if your fundraising goal is $10,000 and you’ve raised $8,527, ask for $1,473 from a specific donor. Or $742 from two donors. Either way, let them know that this precise amount is all you need to have the impact you want. Tell those donors that really, you can’t do it without them. The Beatles had it right: “I’m gonna try with a little help from my friends.”
Lean On Me
“I’ll be your friend – I’ll help you carry on.” It’s a pledge that friends make to each other, to “be there” no matter what. That means failure is as much a part of the relationship as success. Share with your donors those times when you don’t achieve what you set out to do. That kind of honesty is important to your friends. It also gives them an opportunity to help you pick yourself up and try again.
When you fail to reach a goal, talk to your network of supporters and ask them, “What can we do better?” Asking for input and advice can be a very effective way of making your donors feel like they’re valued, beyond just their financial contributions. It’s like Bill Withers sang, “If there is a load that you cannot carry, I’m right up the road, I’ll share your load if you just call me.”
You’re My Best Friend
“You’re my sunshine, and I want you to know.” Sometimes you don’t need anything from your friends, but you just really feel like saying that you appreciate them. You don’t need a “reason” to reach out. Donors want to know that what they contribute is more than just writing a check – that they’re part of something more.
If you’re tracking your data well, you’ll know how long donors have been with you, how much they’ve contributed over the years, and how much impact they’ve had on your organization. For example, if Mr. Mercury is a donor of yours and he’s given to 8 projects over 10 years, giving $28,410 to help your organization get kittens and puppies adopted into good homes, tell him about it! Maybe Mr. Mercury doesn’t know just how many puppies and kittens he’s saved! Maybe he’d like to know that the grand total of his giving puts him in the Top 10 donor list. Does he realize that he’s been with you for 10 years, and that it’s your anniversary?
Reach out to your donors and tell them just how happy they make you. Share with them why and how they are so important to you. Don’t ask for more, just let them know. It’s like Queen said: “I’ve been with you such a long time…Oooh you make me live!”
Tips: Staying in touch over the summer
Summer is a time for adventures and getting out of town. We used to send postcards from our travels to folks back home – brief, personal and usually relying on the picture to say more about what’s going on.
If fundraising is making friends, here are some modern-day non-profit “postcards” you can send:
Wish You Were Here…
If your “destination” is the bright future your organization envisions, write your funders a postcard from that future. The sun is shining, the water is warm, and the world is a lovely place. Share a picture of your mission/vision becoming a reality and, with a brief note, just say to your donors that you’re thinking of them.
Be Home Soon
Is your summer usually a time off? Do you drop communications for the warm months? Maybe a well-timed postcard saying, “See you soon” will keep you top-of-mind for when things get rolling again in the Fall.
Sometimes the postcard doesn’t say much at all, but the picture is really great. Just sending a picture with a description and, “Thinking of you” is enough to remind donors of their impact.
Hey, I Just Met You…
Did you make a new acquaintance who you think would be a real asset to your organization’s network? Reach out right away! Give them your contact information – don’t let the contact lapse. Follow up right away with a quick email to remind them who you are and how you met.
Has it been a while since you reached out to someone you met around this time of year? Take the opportunity to reacquaint them with your organization and see if this year they’d like to become a more active supporter.