skip to Main Content

A fresh start for your fundraising 

The first day of summer is on Monday! Time to give your fundraising a fresh start!  

Does thinking of it this way work? After all, it would make equally as much sense to start a new beginning on the 20th or 22nd, as it would on the first day of summer. 

And yet we humans aren’t wired this way. Researchers found that landmark dates whether personal (e.g., birthdays) or calendar-based (new weeks, seasons, months, or years) are significant. They trigger psychological divides between who you were and who you are. 

Now, you aren’t going to be able to convince a judge that the person who ran through the streets naked save for a pair of handknitted socks and a cheesehead hat wasn’t you; that was Spring Nick.  Believe me, I’ve tried. 

But on an individual level, it works—you can more easily tell yourself that you are a different person. You are more likely to make a commitment early in the week, month, or year than you are late in the year. You are also more likely to switch companies for various services when you move or have a child.  Breaks in the timeline are serious business.  It’s why we make New Year’s resolutions and not December 22nd resolutions. 

For your fundraising, certain asks are more likely to be accepted at these “new you” times.  If you want pliability in how people give for things like membership, recurring donations, and planned giving, they are going to work better when someone is starting with a more blank slate. 

Moreover, you can prime these in the way you ask.  There’s a reason that Home Depot and Lowes will ask you to get ready for a summer with a new grill and attitude that, this year, you are going to be the type of person that has people over for grilling parties and does not turn the burgers into carbonized hockey pucks.  They are telling you it’s time for a change with the changing of the seasons. So can you in your donor communications, try to get the donor to accept something Spring Nick wouldn’t have bought into. 

This doesn’t just apply to donors; it also applies to you. If you are like me and have had a moment where you wondered if the 19 in COVID-19 meant pounds, the beginning of summer is as good a time as any, and better than most, to make a change. Similarly, if you want to be a better fundraiser, friend, colleague, or boss, set resolutions when you can distance yourself from your preceding patterns.

And it works on an organizational level. At these milestones, you can talk about goals completed and those yet to do. You can most easily roll out new programs or messaging. And you can more easily make your organizational change initiatives relevant to your employees when they can envision themselves becoming a new person. 

So, as we approach the first day of summer—what are you going to embrace, and what are you going to release, to give yourself the gift of a fresh start? 

Nick Ellinger

Nick Ellinger, Chief Brand Officer with Moore, was formerly editor and contributor to the Agitator blog.  He ran Mothers Against Drunk Driving’s direct marketing program for a decade, where he discovered his passion to help the nonprofit sector break through the 2% of GDP individual giving ceiling we’ve seen for decades.  You can enjoy more of Nick’s written perspective in his 2019 book The New Nonprofit, available on Amazon.

Back To Top