It’s the summer, and who on earth wants or needs to do nonprofit work?!
Here in North Dakota, we have approximately 3.2 weeks of perfect weather before the threat of snow is upon us.
I mean, children everywhere have summer off to run around the neighborhood, probably directly through Old Man Fookwire’s lawn sprinklers while getting scolded by him shaking his fist and yelling “you darn kids!” from the front porch right?
We’re adults! We should be able to do that too!
In no way should we spend this time finding unique ways to engage out donor base!
Heck, our donors probably have no desire to talk with us at all about our amazing impact right?
I assume they are all on boats, on the golf course, at lake cabins or traveling the country and have other, more important things to think about than our nonprofit.
Sure, they may have invested a significant amount of time, talent and treasure to ensure our success to make the community better.
And sure, they talk positively about us to their friends, family and personal circles!
So, ignoring them for a significant amount of time and not having any interaction with them, seems to logically be the way
In fact, here are 3 Ways You Can Avoid Work at Your Nonprofit so you can actively not be active and prove your theory that disappearing for months at a time is beneficial to your mission!
1. Pretend to be on the phone, when really you’re just talking to yourself.
Sure you have folks to call and say thank you to for previous gifts or for volunteering at your organization. Sure there might be someone who needs a little TLC and they don’t have social media to find out how their gifts are being used to benefit their community. The question you have to ask yourself is, “Do they really need to know about what’s going on?”
The fact of the matter is, assuming your donors and supporters know all about what you do at all times is the best way to go. I know that personally, I remember everything and I have nothing like work, kids, family, sports and travel to pay attention to throughout the weeks of the summer. I actually ONLY pay attention to nonprofits I casually donate to. As I imagine most people do.
So, if your boss asks you to call some of these, clearly already engaged folks, you can really easily just pretend you are calling and leaving messages. That type of nonchalant attitude towards sharing wins with those who care about you, and not asking for money, but rather just connecting human-to-human is so overrated, am I right!?
2. Have a meeting to plan what plan you need to plan for planning purposes
There are certainly a number of things you COULD accomplish when it comes to setting up meetings with service clubs, getting booked on podcasts, or sending out media inquires to discuss all the neat programming you have coming up or are doing currently.
But what if someone actually says “yes” to any of those things!? You’ll have to actually talk about your nonprofit, and what if you say something wrong?! Oh the humanity!
I’d suggest to have a meeting to plan out all the possible scenarios and words to use in all potential meetings and conversations you’ll ever have, and use that meeting to plan a secondary meeting to “circle back” on all the things you discussed in that initial meeting.
That way, there is NO possible scenario where you have an authentic and non-robotic sounding conversation. People LOVE robots. It’s why Terminator 2 was such a popular movie in the 90’s.
People do NOT like casual conversations that discuss life. They want nothing more than just to talk business.
It’s science. I read it in a research paper somewhere.
3. Stay home and don’t be social at any event in the community
Listen, people see you out and about all the time. They probably wonder out loud, “Boy, that nonprofit leader is ALWAYS supporting other people’s events with no expectation of getting donors out of it, but rather authentically cheerleading folks doing good in the community! What a jerk!”
They totally all say that. Everyone does.
So do yourself a favor and avoid such inferences by becoming a hermit in the summertime and drastically reducing, if not avoiding completely, continuing to support other organizations or participating in activities.
It’s the BEST way to get out of doing really hard work of networking, because that clearly doesn’t even benefit your nonprofit at the end of the day.
In fact, sit at home and don’t be social at all!
Once again, I think it is safe to say that those who have previously told you that they love being invited to things or who enjoy seeing you at places, are probably lying. And the best bet is to avoid all social situations to make sure your nonprofit and your individual brand ambassadorship is hidden safely away as to not be noticed at all!
Kidding aside – this might be the BEST time to buckle up, hunker down, and crush your fundraising task list.
Yes, you should be taking time off to refresh. Yes, you need a mental break from the stresses of development work. Yes, you need a bit of self care.
But don’t abandon your strategy of engagement altogether.
Nonprofit work should NEVER be a competition, or a contest to see who worked harder. But there is an advantage to connecting, communicating and building stronger relationships with your donors, supporters and cheerleaders while other organizations are less inclined to do so.
With reports of economic chaos and woe abound everywhere you turn, circling the wagons and doing outreach and friendraising to those who have the highest potential of affinity to your organization will set you up for success a lot more quickly during the frantic end-of-year solicitation process.
Reach out. Check in. Don’t ask. Just engage.
Your donors will appreciate it, and your end-of-year fundraising strategies will appreciate it too.
You’ve got this!