Dog Days and Donors

| by Shannon Williams

Oil and vinegar. Pancakes and ketchup. Duke and Carolina fans. 

Some things just don’t go together. 

I have learned that Capital Campaigns and Summer belong on that list. Summer in general and July, in particular, is a terrible month for fundraising. While it is true that most Americans do not go on extended holiday like our European counterparts, most do treat summer as a different animal. 

Some companies have adjusted work schedules or relaxed dress codes. Simply having kids out of school impacts the pace of life in most households. And for those who do go on vacation, I have found there are three stages: preparing to go on vacation, being on vacation, and returning from vacation. All three of these stages invoke a laser focus limited to the immediate and the absolutely necessary. Capital campaigns seem to fall outside of these parameters for both donors and volunteers.  

So, what do you do when you are in the middle of a capital campaign in the summer. First, be encouraged, we only have a couple more weeks to go until focus returns! Hang in there.  

Second, be realistic. It is ok to try to secure appointments with potential donors but know that you may have to be even more flexible to accommodate their schedules. And, don’t be surprised if confirmed appointments are rescheduled multiple times. 

Third, use the summer to work on grants or other proposals—things that require uninterrupted blocks of time. Your volunteers will not be calling, texting or emailing during their three stages of vacation, so use the gift of time wisely. 

Finally, use the summer as a time to recharge your own batteries. By the end of this month, your boss, your board, and your campaign chair will be anxious that the needle has not moved much over the summer. They will be ready to dive back in and they will expect to find you waiting for them in the deep end 

So, take tomorrow or Monday off. Enjoy one more long weekend and then get ready for coffee and donuts because fourth quarter and fundraising definitely go together. Be ready! 

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