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The Summer Blueprint for Building Effective Relationships with Grant Makers


Woman working on computer on vacation

Myth: Grantmakers are MIA during the summer.

Reality: Don't let the summer heat fool you! While vacations and relaxed schedules may create a perception of disengagement, reaching out to grantmakers during this season can lead to fantastic opportunities. In fact, the summer months present an excellent opportunity to stand out in the crowded nonprofit landscape.

With over 1.6 million non-profits registered in the United States, standing out is vital. Funders are more likely to give to your organization if they deeply understand and empathize with your cause.

Unleash the power of summer to connect, empathize, and align with grantmakers.


Keep reading for practical strategies and insider tips to help you build and foster genuine relationships with grantmakers. It's time to harness the power of summer and take your organization's mission to the next level!


Capitalizing on Summer Themes

Summer season, it's the perfect time to infuse our relationship-building efforts with summer themes that resonate with grantmakers. By capitalizing on the vibrancy of summer, we can create memorable experiences and strengthen our connections.


Send personalized summer-themed thank-you cards or small tokens of appreciation: Show your gratitude to funders by sending them personalized thank-you cards or small gifts that capture the essence of summer. Consider beach towels, potted plants, or other summer-themed items that serve as reminders of your meaningful partnership during this sunny season.


Collaborate with funders on a summer-themed initiative or campaign: Work with your grantmakers on a summer-themed project or campaign that aligns with their philanthropic interests. This could involve a fundraising challenge tied to summer activities or an outdoor awareness event that raises awareness for a cause related to your organization's mission. Collaborating on a shared summer initiative can strengthen your relationship and amplify your impact.


Prepare a mid-year or summer impact report specifically tailored for grantmakers: Summarize your organization's progress, milestones, and achievements during the summer. Include data, success stories, and compelling visuals demonstrating the positive outcomes of their support.


Summer Relationship-Building Opportunities

Who says networking can't be fun in the sun? Discover how to leverage the relaxed summer vibe to foster personal connections with grantmakers while keeping the conversation light and enjoyable—in person and online.


  • Organize a summer appreciation event, such as a sunset cruise, a rooftop cocktail party, or a BBQ gathering, to express gratitude and celebrate the successes achieved together.

  • Break away from traditional networking events and embrace the spirit of summer by organizing unique and memorable gatherings. Consider hosting a beachside bonfire, a hiking excursion, or a friendly sports tournament. These relaxed and informal settings create opportunities for authentic conversations and help forge genuine connections beyond the formalities of grant applications.

  • Leverage social media platforms to engage with grantmakers and foster networking opportunities. Share relevant and inspiring content, tag grantmakers in your posts, and initiate conversations by commenting on their updates or sharing their content. Social media provides a convenient and accessible channel to establish connections, exchange ideas, and keep grantmakers informed about your organization's activities.


Maintaining Communication Momentum

Nurturing relationships with grantmakers extends beyond the initial grant period, and the summer season offers unique opportunities to connect and engage with them. Nonprofits can leverage summer's vibrant and relaxed atmosphere to ensure continued engagement and potential future collaborations to maintain communication momentum. Here's how you can network with grantmakers during the summer months.


  • Create a specific networking strategy tailored to the summer season. Identify grantmakers you wish to connect with and research their interests and priorities. Craft personalized messages highlighting your organization's summer programs and initiatives aligned with their philanthropic goals. By clearly understanding their interests and offering relevant opportunities for engagement, you can capture their attention and foster meaningful connections.

  • Use visuals that showcase your organization's work during the summer months. Include photos of beneficiaries engaged in summer activities related to your mission, whether it's children enjoying outdoor education programs or community members participating in environmentally-friendly initiatives.

  • Tailor your communication to align with each grantmaker's unique interests and priorities. Be attentive to their preferences and send personalized updates, articles, or resources related to their philanthropic focus during the summer.


Seizing Summer Sun: Cultivating Lasting Bonds with Grantmakers

Building and fostering relationships with grantmakers is a year-round endeavor, and the summer months provide the perfect backdrop for creating meaningful connections. By incorporating summer elements into our communication and activities, we can create a relatable and engaging experience that resonates with grantmakers.


Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below. How do you plan to network with grantmakers during the summer months? What summer-themed events or strategies have worked well for your organization?


 

Kristin Chute head shot

Kristin Chute is a freelance writer with a passion for helping nonprofits increase their reach and impact. She has written for companies offering SaaS solutions, nonprofits directly, and donor loyalty programs.


Kristin believes in the power of nonprofit organizations to change the world. With expertise stemming from her career and personal connection to volunteering at her childhood summer camp, she shares insights to help nonprofits increase their reach, engage supporters, and amplify fundraising efforts.




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