Social Trends

8 ways to get your charity ready for the fall giving season

By Dave Cameron | 3 min read

As summer brings quiet times for Canadian charities and nonprofits, avoid shutting down and instead use this period to prepare for the busy fall and Christmas giving seasons with these tips.

As summer rolls in, things can get quiet at charities and nonprofit organizations in Canada. 

Don’t make the mistake of shutting down completely this summer. Use these slower times to prepare for the busy fall and Christmas year-end giving seasons.

Here are a few tips to consider over the summer months to ensure a successful and impactful year-end giving season:

1. Review and refresh your marketing strategy

Summer is an ideal time to review your annual giving strategy. Analyze the performance of your past campaigns and identify what worked well and what didn’t. Use this time to adjust your strategies based on data and donor feedback. Refreshing your strategy now so your fall and Christmas campaigns keep up with donor expectations.

2. Engage with donors early

Begin connecting with your donors well before the holiday season. Use the summer months to reach out with updates on your programs, success stories, and impact reports. Personalized communication can strengthen relationships and keep your organization top of mind when the giving season arrives. Send personalized thank you notes or host intimate events and virtual chats to help your donors feel valued.

3. Use social media to connect with your community

Consider increasing your social media efforts over the summer, too. Experiment with new types of content to see what resonates best with your audience. Building a strong online presence (and following) now will pay off when you launch your fall and holiday campaigns.

4. Start planning your fundraising campaigns

Summer is a great time to develop compelling content to help raise awareness about your cause. Start planning your year-end fundraising efforts now. Develop a detailed campaign plan that outlines key dates, campaign themes, and communication channels.

5. Optimize your website and donation pages

During the summer, traffic to charity websites is usually lower. Use this opportunity to make sure your website and online donation forms are ready for busier times. This helps you avoid the risk of adding new features (and fixing bugs) in the middle of donation season. Consider investing time in improving website load times, user navigation, and simplifying your donation processes.

6. Start preparing your annual report

An annual report highlights your charity’s accomplishments, finances, and the impact of donors’ contributions. It shows what your charity has achieved. Begin drafting your annual report during the summer to build goodwill with your donors before the giving season. Then, use it in your year-end appeals to demonstrate transparency and accountability to your supporters.

7. Gather creative assets and impact stories

Take advantage of the pleasant weather to gather creative assets for your campaigns. Schedule outdoor photoshoots and video sessions to capture high-quality visuals that can be used in your fall and Christmas campaigns. And don’t forget to collect impact stories that illustrate the tangible difference your charity is making. These stories, combined with compelling visuals, can significantly enhance your campaign’s emotional appeal and effectiveness.

8. Think ahead about campaign assets and creative formats

Start by noting which campaign elements you’ll need to create in the fall. Then, determine the creative formats required, such as videos, infographics, social media posts, and email templates. Use the summer to produce and refine these assets so they are ready to deploy when your campaigns launch. 

Summer might seem like a ‘downtime’ for charities, but it can also be a great time for preparation and strategic planning. By focusing on these key areas, you will enter the fall and Christmas giving season well-prepared and set up for success. With proactive planning you can ensure your charity makes the most of the critical year-end fundraising period.

Ready to increase your impact this fall?

At Story Digital, we specialize in helping charities maximize their digital fundraising potential. Whether you need assistance with planning your fundraising campaigns, creative asset development, or digital marketing, our team is here to support you every step of the way.

Andrew Douglas and Dave Cameron at the Story Digital booth at a recent Kentro is a conference for organizations working to address poverty and injustice worldwide.

Andrew Douglas and Dave Cameron at the Story Digital booth at a recent Kentro is a conference for organizations working to address poverty and injustice worldwide.

Contact us today for a free consultation and discover how we can help you achieve your year-end fundraising goals.

Let’s make this giving season your most successful one yet!

Dave Cameron

Dave Cameron

Dave comes with 11 years of experience leading marketing strategy at Compassion Canada. Under his leadership, year-end donations through Gifts of Compassion grew from 800k to 2.4M in 6 years.