Want to accelerate your revenue growth? I’ll share THE fundraising program you need to start or grow.
Many nonprofit organizations are finding that consistently acquiring new monthly donors is the fastest and most cost-effective way to accelerate revenue growth.
A continuity donor, also known as a monthly donor, establishes a recurring donation. This provides constant support for your mission so you’re not reliant on all of your income at the end of each year. Most monthly giving is recession proof. If you have a large number of small monthly donors, the risk is lower compared to a small group of major donors. If one major donor decides to stop giving, it could have a significant impact on your organization.
A monthly giving program is a great way to sustain your fundraising efforts throughout the year. By asking donors to commit to a small, recurring gift each month, you can provide your organization with a reliable stream of revenue that can be used to fund your programs and services. Plus, monthly giving programs are an excellent way to engage your most loyal supporters and build deeper relationships with them.
Today, I’m going to share with you five steps for making your monthly donor program successful.
1. Develop the Theme for Your Program
When crafting a monthly giving program, it can be helpful to have a theme in mind. People want to feel like they are part of something and building an effective campaign is a great way for people to get involved.
Having a theme to connect your monthly giving program with your organization helps your donor see how all these pieces come together and where they fit. For example, Charity: water created “The Spring” as the theme for their monthly giving program.
The theme may be based around a “product” that you develop to help donors understand what their gift is going towards. For example, if you’re a nonprofit that provides medicines and medical supplies, you might say something like “$30 provides one person life-saving antibiotics each month.” If you are a homeless shelter, you might develop a product around job placement services, “Your gift of $40 helps one person find a life-changing job that will transform his future.” The product is an important thing for the donor to understand where their gift will be used.
Brainstorm a list of potential themes.
Some ideas to get you started include:
- The needs of your community
- Your organization’s history
- A current campaign or initiative
- Events happening throughout the year
Once you have a few ideas, ask yourself which one would be the most engaging for your donors. Keep in mind that you want a theme that will inspire donors to give on a regular basis.
Choose one theme and flesh it out.
Now that you’ve selected a theme, it’s time to start fleshing it out. Begin by asking yourself what kind of messaging would work best for this theme. For example, if you’re highlighting a specific need in your community, what stories can you tell to illustrate the impact of monthly giving? What facts and figures can you provide? The key is to make sure your messaging is clear, concise, and motivating.
Decide on concrete fundraising goals.
Now that you have a theme and messaging laid out, it’s time to set some concrete fundraising goals for your monthly giving program. What do you hope to raise over the course of the year? And how will you use those funds to further your mission? Keep your goals realistic, but also challenging – remember, you want donors to feel like their gifts are making an impact!
2. Identify Your Target Audience
When it comes to running a successful monthly giving program, one of the most important factors is identifying your target audience. This can be a challenge, especially if you’re just getting started. Monthly giving is a great way for nonprofits to generate significant revenue without having to ask donors every time they want money. But how do you find the right donor target audience for monthly giving?
Define Your Goals
The first step in identifying your target audience is to define your goals for the program. What do you hope to achieve with your monthly giving program? Are you looking to increase donations, build long-term relationships with donors, or both? Once you have a clear understanding of your goals, you’ll be able to narrow down your target audience.
Research Your Existing Donors
After you have defined your mission and goals, you should do some market research. This can include surveying current donors, conducting focus groups, or researching demographic data. Market research will help you gain insights into who is most likely to support your monthly giving program.
Your existing donors are a great resource when it comes to identifying your target audience. Take a look at your donor database and see if there are any patterns among your current monthly donors. Are they mostly individuals or businesses? What is their average donation amount? What is their geographic location? By understanding the characteristics of your current monthly donors, you’ll be able to better target prospects for your program.
Consider Your Potential Donors
In addition to researching your existing donors, it’s also important to consider potential donors who are not yet involved with your organization. Who would be interested in supporting your cause on a monthly basis? Try to think outside the box and consider different segments of the population that might be receptive to your message.
Create buyer personas
Once you have done some market research, you should create buyer personas. Buyer personas are fictional characters that represent your ideal donors. Creating buyer personas will help you better understand your target audience and how to reach them.
Think of a name for the donor.
- What does she do for a living?
- Where does she live?
- Is she married or has children?
- Know her interests and hobbies and describe what they are in detail.
Once you have a persona in mind, you will use these details to find your potential donors which makes the process easier for everyone involved. First, think of where all your potential donors might congregate and then create a list of websites they visit, any events they participate in as a group if possible (such as work conventions).
3. Create a Communication Plan
A monthly giving program can be a great way to increase donations and build loyalty among your donors. But one of the challenges of running a monthly giving program is keeping your donors engaged. After all, if donors forget about your program, they’re likely to stop giving. A communications plan can help you keep your donors engaged by ensuring that you’re consistently sending them timely, relevant, and engaging information about your program. Here’s how to create a communications plan for your monthly giving program:
Determine your Objectives
The first step in creating a communications plan is to determine your objectives. What do you want to achieve with your communications? Do you want to increase awareness of your monthly giving program? Encourage more people to sign up for the program? Keep existing donors engaged? Once you’ve determined your objectives, you can start developing your strategy.
Develop Your Strategy
Once you know what you want to achieve with your communications, you can start developing your strategy. How often do you want to communicate with donors? What channels will you use? What type of content will you send? Will you personalize your communications? Answering these questions will help you develop a solid strategy for communicating with your donors.
Choose Your Channels
Next, it’s time to choose the channels you’ll use to communicate with donors. There are a variety of options available, including email, direct mail, social media, and even text messages. The key is to choose the channels that will reach your target audience. If most of your donors are active on social media, then focus on using that channel to communicate with them. If they prefer email, then make sure you’re sending them timely updates via email.
Never forget the power of face-to-face interactions! Meeting with donors in person can be a great way to build relationships and keep them engaged with your organization. If possible, include opportunities for face-to-face interactions in your communications plan.
Create Engaging Content
Once you’ve selected the channels you’ll use to communicate with donors, it’s time to start creating engaging content. This content should be designed to meet the needs of your target audience and deliver on the objectives you’ve set for your communications plan. When creating content, always keep donor engagement top of mind. How can you make sure that donors will actually read (and care about) what you’re sending them? Personalization can be a great way to engage donors and ensure that they open and read your communications. You can also try using eye-catching images or graphics, writing compelling headlines, or telling stories that engage emotions. Whatever content you create, make sure it’s engaging and relevant to your donor base.
A well-executed communications plan can help ensure that donors stay interested in what you’re doing by providing them with timely and relevant information about your program. By taking the time to develop a clear strategy and create engaging content, you can keep even the most casual donor engaged in your monthly giving program!
4. Launch the Monthly Giving Program to Existing Donors
Fourth, market your donation program to your existing donors. Tell the most loyal of them about your new monthly giving option. Market it in any number of ways that work for you: email newsletters, social media posts, phone calls, or appreciation events.
Your existing donors will likely prove easiest to convert into monthly giving. Consider asking your volunteers as well, as they might have a better understanding of the cause and be more apt to invest in it.
Step 1: Send an Email
Send a mass email to your entire list of email subscribers, announcing the launch of your monthly giving program and highlighting the benefits of becoming a monthly donor. Be sure to include a call-to-action (CTA) that tells recipients how they can sign up to become a monthly donor.
Step 2: Share in Social Media
Post about your monthly giving program on social media and include a CTA in every post. For example, you could write a Facebook post that says “We’re excited to announce the launch of our monthly giving program! Sign up today and help us make a difference all year long.”
Step 3: Use an Insert in Mail or an Article in Your Newsletter
Include information about your monthly giving program in your next mailing piece. You could even create a special insert that features information about the program and highlights some of its key benefits. Be sure to include a CTA so that donors know how they can sign up.
I don’t recommend sending a monthly giving appeal in the mail or including this in an appeal letter. We’ve tested monthly giving direct mail appeals several times and it isn’t an effective acquisition source. It may be more approachable as a receipt stuffer or as a column in your newsletter.
Step 4: Call Donors
Personalize your ask! Instead of sending generic fundraising appeals, reach out to current donors and ask them if they’d be interested in joining your monthly giving program. You could even set up a meeting or call with potential donors to discuss the program and answer any questions they may have. Using telemarketing to upgrade existing donors to monthly giving is quite effective.
A successful monthly giving program can provide a much-needed boost to your fundraising efforts—but only if donors actually sign up for it! Follow the tips outlined above and you’ll be well on your way to launching (or relaunching) your own successful monthly giving program.
5. Launch Monthly Giving Donor Acquisition
It’s time to start marketing your fundraising program for awareness. Now it’s time to use advertising, direct marketing and using influencers and brand ambassadors.
Make it easy for potential donors to sign up for your monthly giving program. The sign-up process should be short and straightforward—donors should not have to provide more information than is absolutely necessary. In addition, make sure that the sign-up form is mobile-friendly so that potential donors can easily sign up from their smartphones or tablets.
Offer incentives for signing up for your monthly giving program. Potential donors are more likely to sign up for your monthly giving program if they know that they will receive something in return. For example, you could offer donor appreciation gifts at different giving levels, or entry into a drawing for those who sign up for your monthly giving program within a certain period of time.
Promote your monthly giving program through multiple channels. Potential donors should be able to learn about your monthly giving program through various channels, such as your website, social media platforms, email newsletters, and traditional print materials such as flyers and brochures.
Keep your current monthly giving program donors happy. It costs less to retain an existing monthly giving donor than it does to acquire a new one, so it’s important to keep your current monthly giving program donors happy and engaged. Send them periodic updates about how their gifts are being used, and let them know about any special events or opportunities that they might be interested in. Keeping your current donors happy will not only help you retain them as part of your donor base, but will also encourage them to spread the word about your organization to their friends and family members.
A monthly giving program is a great way to support your cause on a regular basis. When done right, it can provide a reliable stream of income that can be used to fund your programs and services. By following the steps above, you can easily set up a monthly giving program that will benefit both you and your donors!