The author, Sam Keen, once wrote “Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.”

While not exactly a lazy time around Our Fundraising Search, it is a time that has some very distinct characteristics. Ailena gets to spend more time with her kids. Dave develops an aversion to long pants that we’ve decided to find charming. Linda (who struggles to relax to begin with) becomes hyper-aware of nature. She also becomes hyper-focused on what clients are doing versus what clients should be doing.

We all know that philanthropy drops off the minute the school buses stop rolling, so it’s tempting to give in to that summer slump. But September comes fast, followed by galas, holidays, and the year-end campaign. So, here are some thoughts on how to use the downtime to get a jump on the second half of the year.

  1. Catch up on your reading. Admittedly, Giving USA’s Annual Report is not as compelling as the latest Nora Roberts novel for pool-side reading. Swap back and forth! Reading a chapter of Nora becomes a reward for reading a chapter of research.
  2. Plan your calendar. Find some quiet time to sit with a notebook and your calendar and chart out some important donor events, fundraising milestones, and ideas you would like to explore. Now might even be a good time to lay out your strategy and plan for Giving Tuesday.
  3. Find some time to connect with your team. An afternoon away from the office for a cookout, a happy hour, or even just a walk in the park can be both refreshing and good for talent retention. It’s also easier to brainstorm outside than in a conference room or on a Zoom call.
  4. Lastly, if spring is for spring cleaning, we argue that summer is a good time for database clean-up. Let’s return to our reward idea from above. Dedupe 100 records? Then, you get ice cream! Research your LYBUNTs and SYBUNTs? That deserves a margarita.

We hope your summer is relaxing, reinvigorating, and productive. And, of course, if you ever want to bounce ideas off of us, just drop us a line!


  • D.M. Paule

    Dave Paule is an experienced chief executive officer, fundraiser, marketer, writer and educator. He specializes in jumpstarting stagnant operations, global business turn-arounds, and building green-field organizations. Dave is Principal & Managing Director at Our Fundraising Search and is a member of the faculty of Georgia State University’s J. Mack Robinson School of Business.