Welcome to this guide to starting a successful monthly giving program! Monthly giving is an increasingly popular way for donors to support the causes they care about, and for nonprofits to establish a reliable and sustainable source of income. However, creating a successful monthly giving program requires careful planning and execution.
In this guide, we will take you through 12 key steps to help you get started and build a program that works for your organization. From getting commitment from your leadership to measuring your program’s performance, each step is designed to help you create a strong and effective monthly giving program. So, whether you are a small nonprofit just starting out, or a larger organization looking to expand your giving options, this guide will provide you with the tools and strategies you need to create a successful monthly giving program. Let’s get started!
1. Get Commitment From Your Leadership
Starting a monthly giving program can be a challenging undertaking, especially when it comes to getting buy-in from your nonprofit’s leadership. The most significant hurdle in creating such a program is the internal resistance you might encounter. Even with all the benefits that come with regular giving, people may push back against the idea of starting a monthly giving program. However, getting your leadership on board is crucial for the success of this program.
The benefits of a monthly giving program are numerous. It provides a steady and reliable stream of income for your nonprofit organization, allowing you to plan and budget more effectively. This regular income stream also reduces the need to spend resources on fundraising campaigns, which frees up time and resources to focus on your core programs and services. Additionally, monthly giving allows your donors to give in smaller, more manageable amounts, making it easier for them to support your organization over the long term.
To get your nonprofit’s leadership behind your effort to start a monthly giving program, here are some key recommendations to consider:
- Present the data: Leaders are often more responsive to data and numbers than emotions or opinions. So, make sure you have the necessary data that supports the benefits of a monthly giving program. Show how it has worked for other nonprofits and how it can benefit your organization. You can also use your organization’s donor data to provide evidence of the benefits of regular giving.
- Build a strong case: You need to build a case that will convince your nonprofit’s leadership that a monthly giving program is worth the effort. Highlight the program’s benefits, such as increased donor retention, increased donor lifetime value, and reduced fundraising costs. Also, show how a monthly giving program aligns with your organization’s mission and values.
- Involve the right people: It is essential to involve the right people when presenting your case to your nonprofit’s leadership. Identify those who have decision-making power and involve them in the process. This could be your executive director, board members, or development committee members. Be sure to communicate the benefits of a monthly giving program to all relevant parties.
- Develop a plan: Once you have presented your case and gained buy-in from your nonprofit’s leadership, it is essential to develop a comprehensive plan for the program’s implementation. This plan should include a clear strategy, goals, and objectives, as well as a timeline for the program’s launch and ongoing management.
- Consider hiring a consultant: If your nonprofit does not have a lot of experience with monthly giving programs, you may want to consider hiring a consultant to help you through the process. A consultant can provide expertise in program development, donor acquisition, and retention strategies. They can also help you develop a comprehensive plan for the program’s launch and ongoing management.
- Keep your donors informed: Once your monthly giving program is launched, it is essential to keep your donors informed and engaged. This can be achieved by sending regular program updates, providing personalized thank-you messages, and offering exclusive benefits to monthly donors. Keeping your donors informed and engaged will help to ensure their continued support over the long term.
Starting a monthly giving program can be a challenging undertaking, but the benefits of regular giving make it worth the effort. To get your nonprofit’s leadership behind your effort, it is essential to present a strong case, involve the right people, and develop a comprehensive plan for the program’s implementation. With the right strategy and approach, a monthly giving program can provide a steady and reliable stream of income for your nonprofit organization, allowing you to plan and budget more effectively and focus on your core programs and services.
2. Create a Monthly Giving Donor Persona
Creating a monthly giving donor persona is an essential step in developing a successful monthly giving program. A donor persona is a fictional representation of your ideal donor, based on market research and real data about your existing donors. Developing a donor persona helps you understand the motivations, interests, and preferences of your target audience, enabling you to tailor your messaging and strategies to attract and retain monthly donors.
Here are the steps to create a monthly giving donor persona for your monthly giving program:
Step 1: Identify Your Existing Monthly Donors
The first step in creating a monthly giving donor persona is to identify your existing monthly donors. Use your database or CRM to gather data about your current monthly donors, including their age, gender, location, occupation, income, and other relevant demographic information. You can also look at their giving history to understand their donation frequency, amount, and preferred payment method.
Step 2: Conduct Donor Surveys and Interviews
Once you have identified your existing monthly donors, conduct surveys and interviews to gather more information about their motivations, interests, and preferences. Use online survey tools like SurveyMonkey or Google Forms to create a survey and distribute it via email or social media. You can also conduct phone or in-person interviews with a sample of your monthly donors to get more in-depth insights.
Some of the questions you can ask in the survey or interview include:
- Why did you decide to become a monthly donor?
- What causes are most important to you, and why?
- What benefits do you expect from your monthly donation?
- How do you prefer to receive updates and communications from the organization?
- What would make you increase or decrease your monthly donation amount?
Step 3: Analyze Your Data
After you have collected data from your existing monthly donors, analyze the data to identify patterns and trends. Look for common themes and insights that can help you create a donor persona. For example, you may find that a majority of your monthly donors are women aged 35-54 who are passionate about animal welfare and prefer to receive email updates.
Step 4: Create Your Monthly Giving Donor Persona
Using the data and insights you have gathered, create your monthly giving donor persona. A donor persona should include a name, a photo, and a brief description of the person’s demographics, interests, motivations, and preferences. You can also include information about their preferred communication channels, their preferred donation amount and frequency, and their expectations from the organization.
Here’s an example of a monthly giving donor persona:
Location: Seattle, WA
Occupation: Marketing Manager
Interests: Animal welfare, hiking, cooking
Motivations: Sarah wants to make a difference in the world and is passionate about animal welfare. She is deeply concerned about animal cruelty and is committed to supporting organizations that work to protect and care for animals. She also values transparency and accountability and wants to know that her donations are making a real impact.
Preferences: Sarah prefers to receive email updates from the organizations she supports, as she checks her email frequently throughout the day. She prefers to donate $50/month, as this amount fits comfortably within her budget. She also expects regular impact reports from the organizations she supports, as she wants to know how her donations are making a difference in the lives of animals.
Background: Sarah lives in Seattle with her husband and two children. She has a busy career as a marketing manager for a tech company, but she makes time to pursue her interests in hiking and cooking. She has two rescue dogs and is passionate about animal welfare, having grown up with pets throughout her childhood.
Personality: Sarah is empathetic and caring, with a strong sense of social responsibility. She is intelligent and analytical, and she likes to research the causes and organizations she supports. She is busy but likes to stay informed about the latest news and developments in animal welfare.
Marketing Strategy: To attract and retain monthly donors like Sarah, the animal welfare organization should focus on transparency and accountability, and showcase their impact in clear and measurable terms. The organization should provide regular updates and impact reports, highlighting success stories and showcasing the difference their work is making in the lives of animals. They should also use language and images that resonate with Sarah’s interests and motivations, emphasizing the importance of protecting and caring for animals. Emails should be well-designed, easy to read, and mobile-friendly, as Sarah checks her email frequently throughout the day. The organization should also offer a recurring donation option that allows donors to easily set up automatic monthly donations of $50, and provide clear information about the impact of different donation amounts. Finally, the organization should provide opportunities for donors to engage with their work, such as through volunteering or attending events, as this will help to deepen their connection and loyalty to the organization.
Step 5: Use Your Donor Persona to Guide Your Monthly Giving Program
Once you have created your monthly giving donor persona, use it to guide your monthly giving program. Tailor your messaging and strategies to appeal to your ideal donor, using language and images that resonate with their interests and motivations. For example, if your donor persona is passionate about animal welfare, use photos and stories that showcase the impact of your organization’s animal welfare programs. If your donor persona values transparency and accountability, provide regular impact reports and updates on your organization’s progress.
You can also use your donor persona to inform your fundraising tactics. For example, if your donor persona prefers to donate $50/month, consider offering a recurring donation option that allows donors to easily set up automatic monthly donations. If your donor persona prefers to receive email updates, make sure you have a robust email marketing program in place that provides regular updates and opportunities to engage with your organization.
Tailor your messaging and strategies to appeal to your ideal donor, using language and images that resonate with their interests and motivations.
3. Identify a Giving Product
A monthly giving program can be a powerful tool for nonprofits to establish a stable and predictable source of funding. However, to encourage donors to sign up for a monthly gift, it is important to offer them something tangible in return. This is where the giving product comes into play. A giving product is a defined giving program that donors will want to support with a monthly gift. In this section, we will explore how to identify a giving product that will resonate with donors and inspire them to become monthly supporters.
Understand Your Donors
The first step in identifying a giving product is to understand your donors. What are their interests, values, and motivations? What are their demographic and psychographic characteristics? To answer these questions, you can conduct surveys, focus groups, or interviews with your donors. You can also analyze your donor data to identify patterns and trends in their giving behavior.
By understanding your donors, you can identify causes, programs, or initiatives that are likely to resonate with them. For example, if your donors are passionate about animal welfare, you can create a giving program that supports your organization’s animal rescue and adoption efforts. If your donors are concerned about climate change, you can create a giving program that supports your organization’s sustainability initiatives.
Identify Your Impact
The second step in identifying a giving product is to identify the impact of your organization’s programs and initiatives. What are the tangible and measurable outcomes of your work? How does your work make a difference in the lives of the people or communities you serve?
To identify your impact, you can conduct a program evaluation, collect stories from your beneficiaries, or analyze your organizational data. By identifying your impact, you can create a compelling case for support that demonstrates the effectiveness and relevance of your organization’s work.
Create a Compelling Giving Product
The third step in identifying a giving product is to create a compelling giving product that aligns with your donors’ interests and values and showcases your organization’s impact. A compelling giving product should have the following characteristics:
- Clear and Specific: Your giving product should have a clear and specific purpose that donors can understand and relate to. For example, a giving product that supports your organization’s education program for underprivileged children is more specific and compelling than a giving product that supports your organization’s general operating expenses.
- Tangible and Measurable: Your giving product should have tangible and measurable outcomes that donors can see and track. For example, a giving product that supports your organization’s tree-planting initiative can have a measurable outcome of the number of trees planted or the amount of carbon sequestered.
- Creative and Unique: Your giving product should be creative and unique to stand out from other giving products and capture donors’ attention. For example, a giving product that offers exclusive access to behind-the-scenes content or events can be a unique and attractive offering.
- Accessible and Convenient: Your giving product should be accessible and convenient for donors to sign up and manage their monthly gift. For example, a giving product that offers multiple payment options or integrates with popular payment platforms can make it easier for donors to give.
4. Create a Brand for Your Monthly Giving Program
Monthly giving programs are a critical source of revenue for many nonprofit organizations. By giving donors the option to donate smaller amounts on a monthly basis, you can build a more sustainable funding stream and build long-term relationships with your supporters.
You need to create a strong brand for your monthly giving program that inspires trust and confidence in your donors.
But to succeed in this endeavor, you need to create a strong brand for your monthly giving program that inspires trust and confidence in your donors. Here are some tips to help you do just that.
Start with your organization’s values and mission.
Your monthly giving program should be an extension of your organization’s values and mission. Take some time to think about what your nonprofit stands for and how you can communicate those values through your monthly giving program. What kind of impact do you hope to make in the world, and how does monthly giving help you achieve that goal? By keeping your mission front and center, you can create a brand that aligns with your organization’s overall goals.
Develop a unique name and visual identity.
Your monthly giving program needs a name that sets it apart from other programs and helps it stand out in the minds of donors. Choose a name that is easy to remember and clearly communicates the purpose of the program. You should also create a visual identity for your program that includes a logo, color scheme, and other design elements. This will help donors recognize your program at a glance and make it easier to market.
Define your program’s benefits.
When people sign up for your monthly giving program, what do they get in return? Define the benefits of your program, such as exclusive content, behind-the-scenes access, or recognition on your website or social media. By clearly communicating the benefits of your program, you can incentivize people to sign up and help them feel good about their decision to support your organization.
Make it easy to sign up and manage donations.
Your brand should also be reflected in the donor experience. Make sure it’s easy for people to sign up for your monthly giving program and manage their donations. Use clear language, provide step-by-step instructions, and offer multiple payment options. The more streamlined and user-friendly the process, the more likely people are to stick with your program.
Create compelling marketing materials.
To get the word out about your monthly giving program, you’ll need to create compelling marketing materials. This could include social media posts, email campaigns, direct mail pieces, and more. Use the name and visual identity you developed earlier to create materials that are visually appealing and consistent with your brand. Focus on the benefits of your program and use storytelling to connect with your audience emotionally.
Build trust through transparency.
One of the most important aspects of a successful monthly giving program is building trust with your donors. Be transparent about how donations are used and the impact they have. Share success stories, testimonials, and impact reports to show donors the difference their contributions are making. Also, make it easy for donors to get in touch with you if they have questions or concerns.
Acknowledge and thank your donors.
Finally, it’s essential to acknowledge and thank your monthly donors for their ongoing support. This not only shows that you appreciate their contributions but also helps build a sense of community around your program. Consider sending personalized thank-you notes, hosting donor appreciation events, or creating exclusive content for your monthly donors.
Creating a strong brand for your monthly giving program is key to its success. By focusing on your organization’s values and mission, developing a unique name and visual identity, defining the benefits of your program, making it easy to sign up and manage donations, creating compelling marketing materials, building trust through transparency, and acknowledging and thanking your donors, you can build a program that inspires trust and loyalty in your supporters.
5. Create Monthly Giving Price Point Options
After you create a monthly giving product, you must create monthly giving price point options. These are the monthly amounts that you’ll be asking donors to give. It’s important to get this right to encourage donors to give as much as they can while also ensuring that the amount is affordable.
When creating monthly giving price point options, it’s important to consider the cost of the services or programs that your organization provides. Many organizations use the cost of helping one person as a guide for setting monthly giving levels. For example, if it costs $300 a year to provide food and shelter to one person, a monthly giving level of $25 would be appropriate.
However, it’s important to note that not all donors can give at the same level. Some may be able to give more, while others can only give a little. That’s why it’s important to provide a range of monthly giving levels. The most common range for monthly giving is between $30 and $45, but this can vary depending on your organization and the services you provide.
When setting monthly giving levels, it’s important to consider the donor’s perspective. Donors want to feel that their gift is making a difference, so it’s important to give them options that reflect the impact of their gift. For example, a monthly gift of $30 may provide a child with school supplies for a year, while a gift of $50 may provide food and shelter for a family for a week.
It’s also important to consider the donor’s budget. While some donors may be able to give more, others may need to give less. That’s why it’s important to provide options at different price points. For example, a monthly gift of $10 may provide a month’s worth of medication for someone in need, while a gift of $20 may provide a week’s worth of groceries for a family.
It’s also important to consider the donor’s motivation for giving. Some donors may be motivated by a desire to help a specific program or service, while others may be motivated by the impact their gift will have. That’s why it’s important to provide options that reflect the donor’s interests. For example, if your organization provides both education and healthcare services, you may want to provide monthly giving options for each program.
Another factor to consider when setting monthly giving levels is the impact of recurring giving. Recurring giving allows donors to make a long-term commitment to your organization and its mission. This can be a powerful tool for your organization, as it allows you to better plan and budget for the future. That’s why it’s important to encourage recurring giving by offering incentives, such as special recognition or exclusive updates.
When creating monthly giving price point options, it’s important to test and evaluate different options. This can help you determine which levels are most effective at encouraging donors to give. You can also use this information to adjust your giving options over time to better meet the needs and interests of your donors.
It’s also important to communicate the impact of monthly giving to your donors. Donors want to know that their gift is making a difference, so it’s important to show them the impact of their gift over time. You can do this by providing regular updates and stories that illustrate the impact of your programs and services.
Donors want to know that their gift is making a difference, so it’s important to show them the impact of their gift over time.
Creating monthly giving price point options is an important step in developing a successful monthly giving program. It’s important to consider the cost of your programs and services, the donor’s perspective, budget, motivation, and the impact of recurring giving. By providing a range of options and communicating the impact of monthly giving, you can encourage donors to make a long-term commitment to your organization and its mission. Monthly giving can be a sustainable source of funding for your organization and can help you better plan and budget for the future.
6. Love On Your Monthly Donors
Monthly donors are a critical component of any nonprofit organization’s fundraising efforts. These donors commit to making a recurring donation each month, providing a reliable source of income that helps the organization plan for the future. But it’s not just the financial impact that makes monthly donors so valuable – it’s also the relationship that they develop with your organization over time. That’s why it’s essential to show love and appreciation to your monthly donors.
In this article, we’ll explore some ways that you can demonstrate your gratitude to your monthly donors and strengthen your relationship with them.
Why Showing Love and Appreciation is Important for Monthly Donors
Before we dive into specific tactics, let’s take a moment to explore why it’s so crucial to show love and appreciation to your monthly donors. The fact is, there are a lot of other organizations out there competing for their attention and dollars. By showing that you value and appreciate their contributions, you’re helping to build a sense of loyalty and connection.
Additionally, research has shown that donor retention rates tend to be higher for organizations that make a concerted effort to build relationships with their donors. In fact, the Fundraising Effectiveness Project found that the retention rate for first-time donors is just 19%, but that number jumps to 63% for repeat donors.
With that in mind, let’s look at some specific ways that you can show your monthly donors that you care.
Send Personalized Thank-You Notes
A handwritten thank-you note can go a long way in showing your appreciation for your monthly donors. Take the time to personalize each note, mentioning their specific contribution and what it means to your organization. You might also include a photo or story that illustrates the impact of their donation.
For example, if your organization is a wildlife rescue, you might include a photo of a rescued animal and a note about how their donation is helping to provide care and rehabilitation for these animals.
Offer Exclusive Content or Access
One way to show your monthly donors that you value their support is by offering them exclusive content or access. This could include things like early access to event tickets, behind-the-scenes tours of your facilities, or special reports or updates on your programs.
For example, if you’re a museum, you might offer your monthly donors a monthly “insider” email that shares behind-the-scenes stories, exclusive interviews with curators, or early access to upcoming exhibits.
When a monthly donor reaches a significant milestone – such as their one-year anniversary of giving – take the time to celebrate that accomplishment. Send a personalized note or email that thanks them for their continued support and recognizes the impact that their contributions have had.
You might also consider sending a small gift, such as a lapel pin or sticker, to commemorate the occasion. This not only shows your appreciation but also helps to create a sense of community among your monthly donors.
Host Special Events
Hosting special events for your monthly donors is another way to show your appreciation and strengthen the relationship. This could include things like donor appreciation dinners, VIP tours, or private receptions before or after public events.
For example, if you’re a performing arts organization, you might host a pre-show reception for your monthly donors that includes light refreshments, a chance to meet the performers, and a brief presentation on how their support is making a difference.
Share Impact Stories
Monthly donors want to know that their contributions are making a difference. Make sure to regularly share impact stories that demonstrate the tangible ways that their donations are helping to advance your mission.
This might include sharing stories of the people or communities that you serve, highlighting the outcomes of specific programs or initiatives, or providing updates on major milestones or accomplishments.
Recognize Donors Publicly
Recognizing your monthly donors publicly is another way to show your appreciation and strengthen the relationship. This could include featuring them in your organization’s newsletter, website, or social media channels. Consider highlighting a different donor each month and sharing their story, their reasons for giving, and the impact that their contributions have had.
You might also consider creating a donor recognition wall or plaque in your organization’s lobby or other public space. This not only provides a tangible way to thank your donors but also helps to build a sense of community and shared purpose among your supporters.
Provide Opportunities for Feedback
Finally, it’s important to provide your monthly donors with opportunities to provide feedback and share their thoughts and ideas. This not only helps to strengthen the relationship but can also provide valuable insights that can help you improve your programs and services.
Consider sending out a regular survey or hosting a focus group for your monthly donors. Ask them for their thoughts on your organization’s communications, programs, and events, and listen carefully to their feedback. This not only demonstrates that you value their opinions but can also help to improve the overall donor experience.
Showing love and appreciation to your monthly donors is essential to building a strong, long-lasting relationship.
Showing love and appreciation to your monthly donors is essential to building a strong, long-lasting relationship. By taking the time to recognize and thank your supporters, offer exclusive content and access, celebrate milestones, host special events, share impact stories, recognize donors publicly, and provide opportunities for feedback, you can help to build a sense of loyalty and connection that will keep your best donors engaged and committed to your mission. Remember, the more you invest in your monthly donors, the more they will invest in you.
7. Create a Great Communications Stream
it’s not enough to simply secure a monthly donation; it’s equally important to maintain that donor’s commitment and engagement over time. One way to do this is by creating a great communications stream for monthly donors. In this essay, we’ll discuss why this is vital, how telling stories of impact can increase donor retention, and how it creates opportunities for monthly donors to give outside of their monthly commitment.
Build Great Relationships
Creating a great communications stream for monthly donors is vital because it helps build and maintain relationships with donors. A regular stream of communication can show donors that their contributions are appreciated and that their support is making a real difference. Monthly donors have made a significant commitment to the organization, and it’s important to recognize and nurture that commitment. By regularly communicating with donors, non-profits can demonstrate that they value their donors and that they are committed to achieving their mission.
Increase Donor Retention
Secondly, telling stories of impact is an effective way to increase donor retention. Monthly donors want to know that their contributions are making a difference. By sharing stories of the impact their donations have had, non-profits can show donors the tangible results of their support. For example, a non-profit that provides education to children in developing countries could share stories of children who have been able to attend school thanks to their donations. By seeing the impact of their support, donors are more likely to feel a sense of connection and investment in the organization’s work.
Moreover, storytelling can also create emotional connections with donors. Emotional connections are essential to developing a long-lasting relationship with donors, and stories have the power to evoke strong emotions. Non-profits can use storytelling to highlight the people and communities they serve, bringing their experiences to life and demonstrating the importance of their work. Through storytelling, non-profits can inspire empathy and compassion in donors, making it more likely that they will continue to support the organization over time.
Emotional connections are essential to developing a long-lasting relationship with donors, and stories have the power to evoke strong emotions.
Create Opportunities for More Giving
Furthermore, a great communications stream for monthly donors can create opportunities for additional giving outside of their monthly commitment. Monthly donors are often deeply committed to the organizations they support and may be open to additional opportunities to give. For example, a non-profit could offer opportunities for donors to give to specific projects or campaigns that are aligned with their interests. By communicating these opportunities to monthly donors, non-profits can increase overall giving and deepen the relationship between donors and the organization.
Keep Donors Informed
In addition, a great communications stream can help non-profits keep donors informed about their work and the impact of their donations. This can help donors feel more connected to the organization and the cause they support. Regular updates can also help to build trust and transparency, as donors can see how their contributions are being used and the progress being made towards achieving the organization’s goals. This can help to increase donor satisfaction and loyalty, making it more likely that they will continue to support the organization over time.
Creating a great communications stream for monthly donors is vital for non-profit organizations. By regularly communicating with donors, sharing stories of impact, and creating opportunities for additional giving, non-profits can build and maintain relationships with their most committed supporters. Monthly donors play a critical role in the success of non-profits, and it’s important to recognize and nurture their commitment to the organization’s mission. By investing in a strong communications stream for monthly donors, non-profits can inspire loyalty, increase giving, and make a real difference in the world.
8. Upgrade Single Gift Donors
For nonprofit organizations, upgrading single gift donors into monthly donors is a critical part of sustaining funding and maintaining long-term relationships with donors. Monthly donors provide a steady stream of revenue and allow nonprofits to plan ahead and budget more effectively. In addition, monthly donors are more likely to continue giving over time, making them valuable assets to any organization.
There are a variety of channels that nonprofits can use to upgrade single gift donors into monthly donors. Some of the most common channels include direct mail, email, telemarketing, and social media. Each of these channels has its own unique advantages and challenges, and organizations will need to carefully consider which channels are most appropriate for their particular donor base.
Direct mail is one of the most traditional channels for nonprofit fundraising, though we have found it challenging to upgrade single gift donors into monthly donors. Direct mail appeals can be personalized and tailored to individual donors, and can include incentives such as exclusive newsletters or other benefits for monthly donors. There are also several challenges associated with upgrading donors through direct mail. For example, response rates can be low, and there is often a high cost associated with producing and mailing physical materials.
Email is another channel that can be effective for upgrading single gift donors into monthly donors. Like direct mail, emails can be personalized and can include incentives for monthly giving. In addition, email campaigns can be relatively low cost and easy to produce. We have found email to be an effective way to upgrade single gift donors to monthly donors.
Social media can be effective for reaching younger donors who are more likely to be active on social platforms. Social media campaigns can include compelling visuals and videos that are more likely to capture donors’ attention. However, social media campaigns can also be challenging, as getting to the conversion is difficult. People don’t come to social media to upgrade their donation and few respond to the ad campaigns.
Telemarketing is one of the most effective channels for upgrading single gift donors into monthly donors. When calling donors, nonprofits have the opportunity to have a personal conversation with the donor, which can be more persuasive and effective than other channels. Additionally, telemarketing can help identify donors who may be interested in upgrading their giving, and can allow nonprofits to tailor their appeals to the donor’s specific interests and giving history.
One of the most effective ways to use telemarketing to upgrade single gift donors into monthly donors is to focus on donors who have given multiple gifts. These donors have already demonstrated a commitment to the organization and are more likely to be open to monthly giving. Additionally, donors who have given multiple gifts may have a deeper connection to the organization and may be more likely to be receptive to a personal conversation about their giving.
When calling donors to upgrade them to monthly giving, it is important to have a clear and compelling message that emphasizes the impact of monthly giving. Donors need to understand why their monthly gift is important and how it will help the organization achieve its mission. Additionally, nonprofits should be prepared to answer any questions that donors may have about monthly giving, such as how their gift will be used or how they can make changes to their gift in the future.
It is also important to have a clear ask and a specific amount in mind when calling donors to upgrade them to monthly giving. Donors are more likely to take action when they are given a specific ask and a clear deadline for responding. Nonprofits should also be prepared to follow up with donors who do not immediately commit to monthly giving, as these donors may still be interested but need more time to consider the request.
Finally, nonprofits should be prepared to track their results and measure the effectiveness of their telemarketing campaigns. This can include tracking the number of donors who upgrade to monthly giving, the amount of revenue generated, and the cost of the telemarketing campaign. By tracking these metrics, nonprofits can identify areas for improvement and adjust their strategies to optimize their results.
Upgrading single gift donors into monthly donors requires a thoughtful and strategic approach that takes into account donors’ preferences and behavior. By using a variety of channels and personalizing their appeals, nonprofits can increase the likelihood of success and build long-term relationships with their donors. Telemarketing can be a particularly effective channel, especially when targeting donors who have given multiple gifts, but it is important to balance the benefits with the challenges and limitations of this approach. With a clear strategy and a commitment to donor stewardship, nonprofits can successfully upgrade their donors and sustain their mission over the long term.
9. Develop Multiple Acquisition Options
Monthly donors are a crucial source of sustainable revenue for nonprofit organizations. Developing multiple acquisition options is important to maintain and grow this segment of donors. The channels through which monthly donors can be acquired include direct mail, in-person events, email, digital ad campaigns, in-person kiosks or door-to-door campaigns, and upgrading existing donors. Each channel has its own set of positives and negatives, and it is essential to assess them to make informed decisions about which channels to use for monthly donor acquisition.
Direct mail is a classic channel for acquiring monthly donors. It involves sending a physical letter with a donation form and a pre-paid return envelope to a targeted audience. This channel is often used by nonprofit organizations because it has a relatively low cost per acquisition and can reach a large number of potential donors.
Positives: Direct mail allows organizations to reach potential donors who may not be on their email or digital marketing list. Additionally, direct mail is tangible, which can make it more impactful than a digital message.
Negatives: Direct mail can be expensive and may not have the same response rate as digital channels. There is also the risk that the mail may be ignored or thrown away, resulting in wasted resources.
In-person events are a great way to acquire monthly donors because they provide an opportunity to connect with potential donors in person. These events can range from small, informal gatherings to large, organized fundraising events.
Positives: In-person events create an opportunity to build relationships with potential donors and engage them in the organization’s mission. These events also provide an opportunity for current monthly donors to bring friends and family who may be interested in supporting the organization.
Negatives: In-person events can be costly to organize, and they may not always result in immediate monthly donors. It can also be challenging to track the success of these events in terms of monthly donor acquisition.
Email marketing is an efficient way to acquire monthly donors as it involves sending personalized messages directly to a targeted audience’s inbox. Email marketing is cost-effective and can reach a large audience.
Positives: Email marketing is a cost-effective channel that can be customized for specific audiences. It is also an easy way to track open rates and click-through rates, which can be used to measure the success of the campaign.
Negatives: Email marketing can be seen as spam and may be ignored by potential donors. Additionally, email inboxes are often inundated with messages, which can make it difficult to stand out.
Digital Ad Campaigns
Digital ad campaigns can be used to acquire monthly donors through online advertising. These campaigns can be targeted to specific audiences and can be used to raise awareness about the organization and its mission.
Positives: Digital ad campaigns are highly targeted, and the results can be tracked with precision. Additionally, these campaigns can be cost-effective and reach a large audience.
Negatives: Digital ad campaigns require a certain level of expertise, which may require the organization to outsource the work to a marketing agency. Additionally, ad blockers and low conversion rates can impact the success of the campaign.
In-person Kiosks or Door-to-Door Campaigns
In-person kiosks or door-to-door campaigns involve setting up a physical location where potential donors can learn about the organization and sign up to become monthly donors. This channel is often used for events such as festivals or farmer’s markets.
Positives: In-person kiosks and door-to-door campaigns provide an opportunity to speak with potential donors and educate them about the organization’s mission. Additionally, these campaigns can be highly effective at acquiring monthly donors in a short amount of time.
Negatives: In-person kiosks and door-to-door campaigns can be expensive to set up and manage. Additionally, these campaigns require a significant amount of manpower to be successful, which may not be feasible for some organizations.
Upgrading Existing Donors
Upgrading existing donors is a great way to increase the value of an organization’s monthly donor program. This involves reaching out to current monthly donors and encouraging them to increase their monthly donation amount. Upgrading donors can also create more midlevel donors and major donors.
Positives: Upgrading existing donors is a cost-effective way to increase revenue and can be highly effective, as current donors are already familiar with the organization’s mission.
Negatives: Upgrading existing donors requires careful communication to ensure that donors do not feel pressured or uncomfortable. Additionally, it may be challenging to convince donors to increase their monthly donation amount.
Developing multiple acquisition options is critical to building a strong, sustainable monthly donor program. Each channel has its own set of positives and negatives, and it is essential to evaluate each option carefully to determine which channels will be most effective for your organization. A mix of channels may be necessary to reach a broad audience and maximize the impact of your monthly donor program. By carefully selecting and implementing the appropriate channels, nonprofit organizations can increase their monthly donor base and secure a reliable stream of revenue for their organization.
10. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Additional Gifts
There is a common misconception among nonprofits that they cannot ask monthly donors for additional gifts.
It is true that monthly donors are different from one-time donors in some ways. They have made a long-term commitment to support your organization, and they may have different expectations about how they want to be engaged. However, this does not mean that they cannot be asked for additional gifts. In fact, monthly donors can be some of your most generous supporters, and they are often more likely to give multiple donations throughout the year in addition to their monthly gift.
The idea that you cannot ask recurring donors for additional gifts may stem from a fear of upsetting these committed supporters or causing them to cancel their monthly donations. However, research has shown that this fear is largely unfounded. According to a study conducted by the fundraising consulting firm NextAfter, monthly donors are just as likely to give additional gifts as one-time donors. The study found that among donors who gave a monthly gift in addition to a one-time gift, the average monthly gift was higher than the one-time gift.
There are several reasons why monthly donors may be more likely to give additional gifts. First, they have already demonstrated a high level of commitment to your organization by pledging to give on a monthly basis. This means that they are more likely to be passionate about your cause and invested in your organization’s success. Additionally, because they are giving smaller amounts each month, they may not feel as financially stretched as one-time donors and may be more willing to give additional gifts.
So how can nonprofits ask monthly donors for additional gifts without alienating them or causing them to cancel their monthly donations? The key is to be strategic and thoughtful in your approach. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Be clear about the impact of additional gifts: When you ask monthly donors for additional gifts, be sure to explain how their support will make a difference. Be specific about how their donation will be used and the impact it will have on your programs and initiatives.
- Provide different giving options: Don’t assume that monthly donors only want to give through their recurring donation. Offer them different giving options, such as one-time gifts, special campaigns, or fundraising events. Make it easy for them to give in a way that feels comfortable for them.
- Time your asks strategically: While you shouldn’t send every monthly appeal to your monthly donors, it’s important to find a balance. Sending quarterly appeals and your year-end appeals is a good mix. Make sure that your additional gift asks are timed appropriately and make sense in the context of your overall fundraising strategy.
- Show appreciation for their ongoing support: Make sure that you are showing your monthly donors how much you appreciate their ongoing support. Send them regular updates on your programs and initiatives, and thank them for their commitment to your organization.
By following these tips, nonprofits can successfully ask monthly donors for additional gifts and build stronger relationships with these committed supporters. Don’t let the misconception that you can’t ask monthly donors for additional gifts hold you back from unlocking the full potential of this valuable donor segment. With the right approach, you can cultivate a community of loyal supporters who are passionate about your cause and willing to give in a variety of ways.
11. Ask Donors to Upgrade
It’s vital to retain monthly donors and encourage them to increase their giving over time. By following the strategies outlined below, nonprofits can ask monthly donors to upgrade their monthly giving amounts, strengthening the relationship with donors and supporting the organization’s work. These strategies include providing a clear and compelling case for support, personalizing the request, making it easy to upgrade, offering incentives, timing the request strategically, demonstrating transparency, expressing gratitude, following up, and continuing to steward the donor’s support.
- Provide a clear and compelling case for support: Start by reminding your monthly donors about the impact of their current monthly gift. Share success stories or specific examples of how their gift has made a difference in the lives of the people or causes your organization serves. Then, explain how an increase in their monthly gift can make an even greater impact. Make sure to communicate the need for increased support and how it will help your organization achieve its mission.
- Personalize the request: Donors are more likely to respond positively to a request if it feels personalized and relevant to them. Use the donor’s name and reference their previous giving history when asking for an increase in their monthly gift. You could also consider segmenting your donor base based on their giving history, and crafting specific messages for each group.
- Make it easy to upgrade: Provide clear instructions on how to upgrade their monthly gift. Include a link to a secure online donation form or provide a phone number or email address where donors can contact you directly to make the change. Consider providing pre-set options for increased giving levels, making it easy for donors to choose an amount that fits their budget.
- Offer incentives: Consider offering an incentive for monthly donors who upgrade their monthly gift. For example, you could offer a free gift or exclusive content, such as a newsletter or behind-the-scenes access to your organization. Make sure the incentive is relevant and meaningful to your donors, and be transparent about any costs associated with the incentive.
- Time your request strategically: Consider timing your request for an increase in monthly giving around a significant event or milestone for your organization, such as an anniversary or a successful fundraising campaign. This can help to create a sense of urgency and inspire donors to take action. However, be careful not to overwhelm donors with too many requests for additional support.
- Demonstrate transparency: Be transparent about how the additional funds will be used and the impact they will have. Provide a breakdown of your organization’s budget and the areas where the additional funds will be allocated. This will help donors to see the value of their increased support and feel confident that their gift is making a difference.
- Say thank you: Always express your gratitude for your monthly donors’ support, regardless of whether or not they choose to increase their monthly gift. Let them know how much you value their commitment to your organization’s mission and the impact their gift is having. Consider sending a personalized thank-you note or making a phone call to express your appreciation.
- Follow up: If a monthly donor does not respond to your request to increase their monthly gift, follow up with a second request after a reasonable amount of time has passed. This could be in the form of an email or phone call. Be respectful of their decision if they choose not to increase their gift, but also let them know that you value their ongoing support.
- Don’t forget to steward: Remember that once a monthly donor increases their gift, it is important to continue to steward their support and keep them engaged with your organization. Consider offering opportunities for them to get more involved, such as volunteering or attending events. Keep them informed about your organization’s progress and the impact of their increased support.
Monthly donors are a valuable asset to any nonprofit organization, and it is important to encourage these donors to increase their giving over time. By providing a clear and compelling case for support, personalizing the request, making it easy to upgrade, offering incentives, timing the request strategically, demonstrating transparency, saying thank you, following up, and stewarding their support, you can increase the likelihood of success in asking for an increase in monthly giving.
12. Measure Your Program’s Performance
Recurring giving programs can be an excellent source of consistent revenue for nonprofit organizations. Measuring the performance of a monthly giving program is essential to ensure its continued success and to make data-driven decisions about improvements to the program. In this section, we will discuss the metrics for a nonprofit monthly giving program and what conclusions can be drawn from each metric.
Conversion rate is the percentage of website visitors who sign up for monthly giving. It is calculated by dividing the number of sign-ups by the total number of website visitors. Conversion rate is a crucial metric for measuring the effectiveness of your monthly giving program. If your conversion rate is low, it may indicate that your donation form is too complex or that your website is not optimized for conversions.
A high conversion rate, on the other hand, indicates that your monthly giving program is effective at engaging and converting website visitors. It is essential to regularly monitor your conversion rate and make improvements to your donation form and website to increase the conversion rate.
Monthly Donor Retention Rate
Monthly donor retention rate is the percentage of donors who continue to donate each month. It is calculated by dividing the number of donors who donate in a given month by the number of donors who donated in the previous month. Monthly donor retention rate is an essential metric for measuring the success of your monthly giving program. A high retention rate indicates that your monthly giving program is effective at retaining donors and generating consistent revenue.
If your retention rate is low, it may indicate that donors are not engaged with your organization or that there are issues with your donor communications. To improve retention rates, consider sending regular donor communications and creating personalized experiences for donors.
Monthly Donor Acquisition Rate
Monthly donor acquisition rate is the rate at which new donors are added to the program each month. It is calculated by dividing the number of new monthly donors by the total number of donors. Monthly donor acquisition rate is an essential metric for measuring the growth of your monthly giving program. A high acquisition rate indicates that your program is effective at attracting new donors and generating more revenue.
To improve acquisition rates, consider optimizing your donation form and website for conversions, creating targeted marketing campaigns, and leveraging social media to reach new audiences.
Average Monthly Gift Amount
The average monthly gift amount is the average amount donated by each monthly donor. It is calculated by dividing the total amount of monthly donations by the number of monthly donors. The average monthly gift amount is an essential metric for measuring the revenue generated by your monthly giving program.
If your average monthly gift amount is low, it may indicate that donors are not engaged with your organization or that there are issues with your donor communications. To increase the average gift amount, consider creating targeted donation appeals and personalizing the donor experience.
Cost of Monthly Giving Program
The cost of the monthly giving program is the total cost of running the program, including staff time, marketing expenses, and software costs. It is essential to monitor the cost of your monthly giving program to ensure that it is cost-effective and generating a positive return on investment.
If the cost of your program is higher than the revenue generated, it may be necessary to make adjustments to reduce costs or increase revenue. Consider evaluating the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and optimizing your donation form to improve conversion rates and reduce costs.
Measuring the performance of your monthly giving program is essential to ensure its continued success and make data-driven decisions about improvements to the program. By tracking metrics such as conversion rate, monthly donor retention rate, monthly donor acquisition rate, average monthly gift amount, and cost of the monthly giving program, you can gain valuable insights into the effectiveness of your program and make improvements to increase revenue and engagement with donors.
Thank you for taking the time to read this guide on starting a monthly giving program. We hope that the 12 key steps outlined in this guide will be helpful in creating and implementing a successful monthly giving program for your nonprofit organization. Remember, building a strong and sustainable monthly giving program takes time and effort, but with commitment and careful planning, it can provide a reliable source of funding and support for your cause. We wish you all the best in your efforts to create a successful monthly giving program and make a positive impact in your community.