Summer doldrums or golden opportunity?

publication date: Jul 10, 2011
This article by the late Dr. Ed Pearce appeared during the first publication year of Canadian Fundraiser, now Canadian Fundraising & Philanthropy. His advice is as valid today as it was two decades ago. CF&P/Hilborn eNEWS is proud of the quality information we have brought to our readers over the past 20 years. We look forward to many more years of serving you.

The busy months of winter may have come to an end. Activity slows down and many experience the summer doldrums. But summer can be a very special time for your development work. Consider these golden opportunities.

Planned giving prospects

Summer is a good time to contact your planned giving prospects. During the winter months, many of these people are outside Canada. Summer is the time they are home, and attending to their personal affairs. Many would welcome a visit by a representative of your organization.

Follow up spring events

Your spring appeal or special event is over. Undoubtedly, there are volunteers and potential donors that should have been contacted. Take the time now. Simple follow-up procedures such as a telephone call or letter may increase total gifts by five or even ten percent.

Prepare for fall

September, October and November are often the busiest months of the year. In the midst of that rush there is little time for preparation. Why not reschedule some preparation time to July and August? In the fall you will be better organized and have a greater sense of control.

Plan for next year

Are you required to produce a development plan for next year? Often these come due when you are involved in your own fundraising event and can little afford the time to produce the plan. Prepare a bare-bones outline of your annual plan now. Later, at the proper time, you only need to flesh it out.

Clearing the files

Here is the least liked job of all. The filing cabinet is full, files are in disarray and you have put it off. Attending to this one task could save countless hours in the fall. [And do the equivalent tidying on your hard drive! - Ed.]

Recognize summer as a special time. Take the time to visit, follow up and prepare. And yes, take your holidays. Enjoy your leisure in the knowledge that all is in readiness. In the fall you will be able to concentrate on the real work of bringing gifts to your organization.

In June, 1992 when we published this article, Ed Pearce was bequest and planned giving officer at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario.

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