Don’t lose touch with donors during migration of snowbirds


As you are probably aware, the term “snowbird” refers to a northerner who moves to a warmer southern state during the winter months. The majority of the year they live in the area they consider home, but when the temperature dips, they relocate to a secondary residence to enjoy a milder winter. Generally, snowbirds begin their migration around the holidays and don’t return until late spring. Many organizations in colder climates have supporters that fall into this category, and it is imperative that you implement a plan for maintaining contact with them.

Here are suggestions for keeping the lines of communication open:

  • The Database: Beyond the normal information captured for all of your supporters, consider adding special fields to identify snowbirds. Ask them for approximate dates they expect to be at their secondary residences and include the information in their profiles. It is helpful to have addresses, land line phone numbers and cell phone numbers if possible. If the secondary residence is a resort property, attempt to gather the telephone number of the main office as well.
  • Correspondence: Email addresses rarely vary due to a location change, but check with your snowbirds to confirm this. It doesn’t hurt to ask if there is an email address they prefer for receiving updates. Send all written correspondence, such as newsletters or appeals, to the correct physical address. Your supporters will be grateful for the consistent communication.
  • Reach out: Keep in mind that your donors are also being cultivated by organizations near their winter residences, especially if they are repeat visitors. Consider reaching out periodically with a personal visit or by telephone during the absence. You might call to thank them for their ongoing support, to wish them Happy New Year or simply to provide an update and to see how they are doing. While they are likely enjoying the warmth and sun, a small gesture like a telephone call from you can go a long way!

As always, the key to excellent donor relations is maintaining contact and providing information. Your donors are invaluable and should be treated as such. Go the extra mile to track their migration so you can keep them informed and close to you regardless of distance!

If you have any questions regarding the Steier Tips or the professional services provided by the Steier Group, I encourage you to contact me at any time.

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