Monday Mixtape 017: Monthly Giving Best Practices & Tips
Here’s your Monday Mixtape, a weekly newsletter from CauseVox designed to jumpstart your week, challenge your thinking, and inspire you to keep at it.
Each week, we’ll hand-pick must-read articles, thinking, resources, and stories for nonprofit fundraisers and leaders and drop it in your inbox. Have suggestions or questions? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy this week’s Mixtape!
It’s pretty exciting when someone gives your organization $1,000, no doubt about it. But I’d argue it should be just as exciting when someone agrees to give you $10 every month.
Because monthly giving is worth more than a simple dollar amount. It’s about loyalty, and commitment, and money you can plan for. It’s about donors who want to join your community and are probably going to stick around.
That is a cause for celebration.
Scratch that. You should definitely have a monthly giving program. But not just any monthly giving program. A really good one, that delivers regular revenue, and deeper relationships with your donors.
But how do we create (or revamp) such a program? What makes a recurring giving program successful? How do we get donors interested?
This week, I’m looking at what makes a good monthly giving program.
Here’s this week’s mix:
“The trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruit.” —Moliere
Track #1: 10 Reasons Why Small Monthly Donors Are Worth The Effort by Erica Waasdorp at NonProfit PRO
“No gift is too small,” is something fundraisers say all the time, but do we really mean it? Are $5 monthly gifts worth the time and credit card fees? Monthly giving expert Erica Waasdorp says an emphatic, “Yes!”
This post is short but convincing. Points that I found particularly compelling were the fact that:
- Monthly donors tend to stay with organizations for 5-7 years
- Many donors will start low and upgrade
- Your response rate will go up if you ask for a lower amount.
However, I wonder if it’s as compelling if your fees are larger than the ones Erica uses for her figures. Anyone paying higher than 3% wants to weigh in?
I found Erica’s attitude towards small gifts very inspiring: “No gift is too small. Your donor can make a difference with an amount that’s most comfortable for them.”
Track #2: 4 Unique Recurring Donations & Monthly Giving Program Examples by Emily Hunsaker at CauseVox
I always find it helpful to see what other organizations are doing before I dive into something, and Emily’s post provides some great examples of how recurring and monthly giving can work.
As Emily says, “To convince donors to give on a monthly basis, you must make a point of showing them the impact these types of gifts will have.” To show us how she focuses on four programs: Watsi’s “Universal Fund,” charity: water’s “The Spring,” The Adventure Project’s “The Collective,” and World Help’s “Child Sponsorship.”
Each organization has their own approach, but key takeaways include using social media to promote monthly giving, branding your campaign specifically, and demonstrating the impact regular donations have.
Congratulations to CCAN, who raised $128,833 with their 2018 Polar Bear Plunge, and learned some great fundraising lessons while they did it. This year, they inspired and rallied their peer-to-peer fundraisers in new ways, with fantastic results.
Track #3: The Dark Side Of Nonprofit Monthly Giving by Pamela Grow at Guidestar
This is not as scary as the title makes it sound, I promise. Pamela’s big point is that monthly donors require care and attention and that if you ignore them, they’ll probably leave. First, she takes off her professional fundraiser hat and looks at the donor perspective by interviewing a friend who “quit” a monthly giving program, as well as her own experiences with organizations.
You probably won’t be surprised that the major lessons are ones that could be applied to a lot of fundraising activities. Monthly giving is not magic. Without investing in the program, paying attention to stewardship, good communication, solid planning, and organizational commitment, you won’t get the results you want. Plot your course before you start, keep “romancing” your donors, communicate when you’ve got something to say, and stay the course for monthly giving to really work.
Track #4: 3 Tips To Running A Wildly Successful Recurring Donation Campaign by Tina Jepson at CauseVox
Who wants a moderately successful campaign when they could have a wildly successful one? Luckily, the keys to taking your recurring giving campaign from ho-hum to fantastic are fundraising techniques you’re probably already doing elsewhere: showing the impact of donations, making it easy to give, and leveraging social proof.
In addition to the tips, Tina provides some very good ideas, like sending recurring donors a video featuring people they helped, naming your giving program to make donors feel special, and finding a match for donors’ first gifts.
By The Way…
The world you fundraise in has changed.
Donors are hyper-connected, overwhelmed with messages, and want different things than they used to. If your fundraising is going to grow, you’ve got to adapt. But how?
Join us for an educational webinar on June 26th at 1 pm EST to learn five must-know strategies for growing your fundraising in the connected economy.
We’re partnering with Gabe Cooper from Virtuous, a nonprofit-focused Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) and marketing automation platform, to discuss key trends in donor preferences, how to measure the true value of your supporters, and strategies to thrive.
Thanks for reading!
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P.S. Questions about this week’s mix? Suggestions for next week? Don’t leave me in the dark. Let me know by emailing me at email@example.com.