FYI Blog

Make the Most of Your Summer: Fundraising Edition

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Funny how effortlessly we shift into a summer schedule … more daylight, more colleagues out of office, and, hopefully, more time with family and friends.

I find that if I make time to prioritize, I reap the benefits throughout the rest of the year. Here are three priorities that I hope all my Avalon and industry colleagues will take to heart this summer:

Get in front of your fall and year-end fundraising.

Summer is a terrific opportunity for proactive thinking and careful due diligence. Gather data, analyze performance, understand which messages and creative are working and which are not. Spend some time thinking about new approaches. This might involve watching the mail for inspiring samples or daydreaming about the perfect message to test.

Take advantage of summer’s more relaxed schedule to prepare methodically—remembering that everything heats up as we head into August. By taking time now, you can plan ahead without being reactionary.

Recommit to professional development.

Summer is teeming with industry events, and this year is no exception. As I recently wrote for DMAW, it is so important to make time for learning, networking, and inspiration. Make sure these great events are on your radar:

    • DMFA Package of the Year Luncheon, June 3, 2015, at the Yale Club in New York City. I always look forward to seeing the creativity our industry generates, and several Avalon clients’ campaigns are up for Package of the Year!
    • Crash Course on Integrated Marketing, June 4, 2015, at the Gannett/USA Today Conference Center in McLean, Virginia. Avalon’s Jackie Biancolli Libby will host a roundtable on the power of telemarketing for renewal campaigns.
    • DMFA DM-101, June 10, 2015, at the Covenant House in New York City. For your rookies, Avalon’s Kerri Kerr will share her expertise on creative strategies while Barb Perell will talk about online marketing.
    • DMAW Bridge to Integrated Marketing Conference, July 7-9, 2015, at the Gaylord National Hotel and Conference Center in National Harbor, Maryland. My colleague Kerri Kerr and I are excited to both be speaking at Bridge this year.
    • DMANF Multitrack Fundraising, August 4-5, 2015, at the New York Hilton in New York City. I’m looking forward to speaking at this conference.

Take a vacation. Really. 

Go away for a couple of weeks or just stay home—but get out of the office for a good chunk of time. Studies show that taking real vacations makes us physically and mentally healthier, which in turn makes us better coworkers. Vacations are the busy professional’s version of recharging batteries; they are essential for creativity and critical thinking. 

Take an inventory of your vacation days, put them on the calendar, and take that time off. Don’t leave any time on the table, because you’ve earned those days, and you need them. And while you’re on vacation, try to unplug as much as possible. My favorite tricks are reading books unrelated to work and, if possible, taking two weeks off in a row. 

I encourage everyone to use these long summer days to plan proactively for fall fundraising, make time for professional enrichment, and rest and rejuvenate for what’s to come. It will be time well spent!