Guestblog by Amanda Luther, Client Services Manager, Change.org

I love summertime. Maybe I don’t have a secret potato salad recipe, but I do know how to help nonprofits connect with new high quality supporters. I can also advise on how to cultivate those new supporters into reliable advocates, event participants and donors. 

Whoever said that summertime months were stress-free and lackadaisical?!
June’s only just begun and you’re already up to your ears with planning summertime activities and managing Q2 & Q3 deadlines.

Between scheduling summer day-camp for the kids… prepping the potato salad for the upcoming cookout(s)… and drafting your nonprofit’s Summer Membership Appeal… you barely have a moment to think about how you’re going to meet the new Year-End fundraising goals your Board of Directors announced during last week’s big meeting. While Change.org may not be the best folks to help with the potato salad, we can definitely put you on the right path for hitting your Year-End goals. And yes, you should already be thinking about December.

Why do I need to think about December NOW?
Because organizations that work on growing their email file during the dog-days of summer can see higher lifetime value from those new supporters, compared to those who are recruited during other times of the year.

It makes sense if you boil it down. People tend to be hanging out at the pool during the summer. Or hiking on the weekends. Or vacationing with the in-laws. (Do people vacation with the in-laws?) In other words, by and large, people tend to be busy doing other things besides connecting with your nonprofit. But NOT everybody. Those who are ready, willing and able to connect with you during the summertime season are likely to be some of your highest quality supporters. They’ve taken the time to cut through the beach-party-noise to join your organization.

As Jeanette Cassano, Sr.Vice President of Belardi Ostroy Fundraising puts it:
“For our clients who mail during the summer and whose seasonality indicates that their softest “join months” are in the summer, they find these member/donors have a higher affinity to their mission as they have not been dissuaded by outside events that are occurring at that time or by other offers.  Because this member/donor is behaving outside the norm of the regular gift cycle of the charity/organization’s experience & essentially a majority of fundraisers, it speaks to a stronger interest from these individuals and ultimately a higher lifetime value.”

From an engagement and cultivation standpoint, the timing couldn’t be better. Supporters who opt-in to hear more from your organization in June or July give you another ~5-6 months during which you can cultivate them into being strong Year-End donors.

Okay, you had me at “Donor”
Five to six months is plenty of time to demonstrate your organization’s commitment to your mission, illustrate the impact that you’ve already made and outline the challenges you face ahead. It’s plenty of time to provide loads of engagement opportunities, including online polls & surveys, social media shares & likes, in-person events, eNewsletter updates and anything else that fits within your area of expertise. It’s also just about how long it typically takes to turn a supporter into a first-time donor.

So, how do I start recruiting these new supporters this summer?
Change.org can connect your organization with new supporters who are interested in your cause and want to engage with your mission. Using our 100% permission based model, called Sponsored Campaigns, new supporters can easily choose to join your email file. And once you have their email addresses, you can start building the relationship through nurturing and other activities that will help them become some of your strongest donors. The best part is, launching a Sponsored Campaign with Change.org is simple and straightforward. We’ll even assign you a Client Manager to help optimize your campaign and get it off the ground. Get started with Sponsored Campaigns now.

And yes, we’re here to commiserate with you when your Facebook feed displays your friends’ photos from the beach on those 80 degree Tuesday afternoons.