3 useful digital tactics to boost Summer fundraising

By: Scott VanderLey, Russ Reid V.P. Digital

Digital growth through the Summer lull

The summer months are a relatively lean fundraising season, and this fact has caused charities to try out a variety of campaigns and strategies over the years to boost Summer giving.

With digital’s growing centrality to nonprofit fundraising efforts, the question also arises: what web-based strategies and tactics should be in the mix to boost support during the Summer? To wit, a few ideas:

Real needs, real footage

Arguably the best approach to Summer fundraising is to focus on real, urgent challenges that the summer months bring.  Is the July heat a growing danger for your clients experiencing homelessness?  This should be your focus.  Are children more vulnerable to chronic hunger in the months they don’t receive school lunches?  That’s a powerful reason to ask donors to get involved. 

What digital adds to this equation is crucial: a timely communication stream with rich content that proves the need beyond any shadow of a doubt.  A video or slideshow, placed prominently on your website and promoted with quick-hitting email, text alerts and social posts, can trigger donor response in a way that words on a page cannot hope to match. 

The three-month commitment… digitized

This short-term pledge approach is a time-honored tactic for “Summer slump” fundraising.  Alerting donors to the fact that giving slows during the Summer, the charity asks them to make an advance three-month commitment near the beginning of the summer to help cover unmet and critical needs.

Making this same appeal via digital is actually more donor-friendly; rather than sending a lump payment up front or remembering to send follow-up checks, donors can fill out a single form and have their credit card charged for the three payments.  This also ensures a greater return for the charity, since fulfillment is assured. Moreover, it allows the use of proven web-based sustainer tactics to cross-promote the special commitment, including mid-conversion lightbox treatments and takeover pages.

No better time for optimization

The Summer months are an important time to emphasize the testing of different page versions to increase website conversion rate, commonly known as conversion optimization.  Gaining learnings from such tests – which can provide site conversion boosts of 25% or more – in the Summer months won’t increase Summer giving substantially.  But what it does is far more valuable: These test results, applied to your Fall and holiday efforts, will exponentially increase revenue gain during the peak giving season. 

Next, read “Why Summer is the season for building trust in social media” >>


We’d love to talk more about conversion optimization, Summer digital fundraising and how to take leaps in social media this Summer. To connect with Russ Reid Digital, contact Andrew Olsen (CFRE, Vice President at Russ Reid) or Steve Harrison (Senior Vice President at Russ Reid).

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