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Summer Fundraising Advice (Taylor's Version)

Updated: Dec 2, 2023

I haven’t been shy about using this space to draw parallels between fundraising and my own life. My kids have factored into more blogs than I can count, and I’m not shy about comparing fundraising and baseball (although I have no desire to talk about my team and their last-place start to the season).


This week, I’m diving into the world of music, specifically the fact that I’m a card-carrying Swiftie.


World of music
World of music

I jokingly describe myself as a latter-era Taylor Swift fan. I’ve always enjoyed her music, but when she released her Folklore album during the height of the pandemic, I went from casual fan to superfan. That album (and its immediate successor, Evermore) continues to play on a loop and capture my imagination.


My wife has been invested in Taylor much longer than I have and was eager to welcome me into the community, sharing all of the details about the bad men she’s dated (looking at you, John Mayer) and executives she’s feuding with (Scooter Braun, who seems shadier by the day).


With that in mind, there was no doubt we were going to miss this year’s Eras Tour. Last weekend we left our kids with a babysitter, made the trek to Kansas City and saw the performance of a lifetime.


I could go on all day about the fun of the concert, from trading friendship bracelets to watching in awe at a 3-and-a-half-hour performance that wasn’t slowed in the least by the midwestern heat.


This amazing experience was also one where we can learn lessons to take into the fundraising world. Summer can be a tricky time in the fundraising world (dare I say, it can be a Cruel Summer?).


Fundraising wisdom in some of Taylor’s biggest hits.


  • Worried About Slow Over the Summer? You Need to Calm Down: Okay, I wouldn’t be QUITE that blunt in my phrasing, but this is a time of year for us all to take a deep breath and remember that giving is always slow over the summer. A strong annual fundraising plan will build around a slowdown during the summer months while donors are vacationing and directing some of their disposable income elsewhere. It’s a good chance to make the most of a quiet time by spending more time reaching out to donors, sharing your message, and spreading gratitude for all of those who support your work.

  • Time to go Back to December: Summertime is the polar opposite of December when nonprofits see a major surge in giving before the end of the year. As weird as it is to think about year-end right now, it’s time to start thinking about what your year-end strategy will look like. What messages have resonated with donors lately? What will your fundraising goals look like? And as the song suggest - go back to (last) December and assess what worked and what can be improved this time around.

  • Dealing with Rejection? Shake it Off: While you’re weathering a slow time and building toward the end of the year, it’s also a good time to assess the things that haven’t worked. Maybe an appeal didn’t drive the results you were hoping for, or maybe an event didn’t draw the crowd you expected. Resilience is the most important trait a fundraiser can have, and it’s crucial to shake off any challenges you’ve experienced so far this year so you can tackle the fall and year-end giving with confidence and determination.

  • Don’t Forget About New Year’s Day: For many nonprofits, July marks the start of a new fiscal year. Your summer New Year is an important time, and you want to make sure you take care of important tasks like having the board approve a budget and finalizing goals for the new year. Funders will be asking for these things, and letting them lapse during the quiet summer months can create a major headache in the fall.


Summertime frustrates fundraisers, but it should be a time to take stock, deepen connections with your donors, and build toward a year-end fundraising push that shatters all of your goals.


If you need summer fundraising help or want to talk about your favorite Taylor Swift songs, we’re ready to take your call! Drop us a line to set up a free consultation and learn how Team Kat & Mouse can help.





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