Crisp fall days are almost here, and with them come lots of freshly sharpened pencils, well-packed lunch bags, and nervous kids with brand-new haircuts. As a nonprofit, you might think that back-to-school season is solely for parents of school-age children, but it’s actually a perfect time for you to re-energize your own work. Sure, you may not be treating yourself to a new lunchbox this year, but now is the perfect time to revive your communications to your community, welcoming them back after a long summer away. Here’s how.
It’s still only August, so you’ve got plenty of time before the post-Labor Day rush hits to plan out your communication strategies for the fall. Carve out an hour this week to sit down, either by yourself or with your team, and brainstorm a list of communication-related goals for the fall. Do you want to send out more weekly emails? Update your blog more consistently? Grow your social media presence? Make it an official goal, then map out the actionable steps you’ll need to get there.
Send out a welcome back email
Everyone’s already in a back-to-school frame of mind, so capitalize on that mindset—and all the renewed energy and productivity that comes with it—by sending out a fall-themed “welcome back” email to your parishioners. It’s a good way to remind the community of your presence and to let them know what your goals are for the upcoming school year.
Host an open house
Want to really create a sense of community for the fall? Roll out the apple cider and the pumpkin cookies and host a low-key back-to-school open house. It’s a great way for parents and kids in your community to meet each other and for you to connect with them. If that sounds overwhelming, enlist a few parents as volunteers—and remember, it doesn’t have to be red carpet-level fancy, it just has to feel sincere. To increase engagement and start your fundraising off on a fun note, hold a raffle. Use prizes donated by local businesses, or raffle off a school-themed gift: say, a new backpack filled to the brim with kid-friendly supplies.
Start a blog
Is all that back to school energy really rubbing off on you? If you don’t have a blog yet, make this the season that you start one! Think of it as homework, and put yourself on an official schedule to keep it updated (or hire someone who can update it for you).
Theme your communications
Fall has a way of working its magic on even the grumpiest community member, so don’t be afraid to lean in to themes like “autumn” or “back to school” in all your communications: emails, Instagram posts, Facebook, etc. Even something as simple as attaching a stock photo of changing leaves can change the tone of a communication from boring to seasonal.
That being said, is your contact information stressing you out because it’s so disorganized? This could be the season to try GiveCentral Community—a simple piece of donor management software that consolidates collection, fundraising, and communication activities all in one convenient place. It’s a great hub for all your communications, letting you spend less time tracking down email addresses and more time building real relationships with your donors (or tracking down cool fall photos, but that’s up to you).