Are you waiting to start a monthly giving program?
And I don’t mean a check box on your donation form. I mean a real program – with goals and a plan.
Last month, I urged you to try something new this year.
If you don’t have a real monthly giving program in place, you need to start today.
As Harvey McKinnon explained years ago, because donors will only commit to a limited number of organizations in this way.
Because the retention rate for monthly giving is very high.
Because monthly donors will give much more over their lifetime of giving.
Either you woo and win your donors to a monthly giving program – or some other organization will.
Monthly giving is also something that can be scaled down. It’s within reach of even the smallest organization.
I did, years ago.
I won’t tell you I immediately saw hundreds of monthly donors. But that’s the best part – even a few monthly donors will be good for your organization.
And this isn’t a one-time effort. Keep working at it, build it into your program. You’ll strengthen your program with every appeal.
I’ve already mentioned the high retention rate. They’re loyal. Treat them well and they’ll become wonderful prospects for legacy gifts.
1. Get your in-house details in-line first
Talk to your finance people. Make sure your gift processor can handle monthly giving.
If they can’t, see if you can begin by processing these gifts manually. (That’s what I had to do. Still worth it!)
2. Give it a name.
I like something that’s meaningful for your organization’s mission. This will be the name you’ll use. And the name your monthly donors will associate with themselves.
It’s the name that will say “you’re special”. So it’s nice for it to be meaningful in the context of your organization.
But you know what? Don’t give up if you can’t find something perfect. Call them “sustainers” or “partners”.
If possible, come up with a logo, too. Something identifiable for the group. You want this program to stand out!
3. Make your ask.
Making it an option on your donation forms is not enough, though you need to do that.
Create a solicitation just for monthly gifts. If you have to start small, begin with a group of loyal donors – those wonderful people who’ve been giving for years.
Chances are, they already trust you and love you.
Consider looking at people who use a credit card to give. They’re already comfortable with giving you that information.
But if you can, ask your entire base. In fact, consider making a monthly ask your first ask!
Use mail and email. And optimize your donation page for monthly giving.
Then think about what they need to know:
- Why do you need me to make a monthly gift now?
- How much should I give each month?
- Can I stop if I need to?
- Can I change the amount?
- What’s in it for me?
- Why would I want to do this?
Find good answers to those questions and offer them in your ask.
Because your dependable gift makes it much easier for us to budget. And that helps us spend money more wisely.
Consider a gift of $X. (Make it a specific amount. Based on their giving history, and higher than their annual gift divided in 12.)
Of course you can stop or change the amount of your gift any time. Just let us know.
You care about our organization. You want to be sure your gift helps this work all through the year. With a monthly gift, you can be sure it’s not forgotten. And it’s easy.
4. Don’t stop the love once they say yes.
Good! You’ve started. You’ve sent your first monthly giving appeal and donors are responding.
But you’re not done by any means. Thank your donors! Be prompt and emotional. Welcome them to the group. Let them know about any special recognition or benefits they’ll receive.
I like to ask them how they’d like to receive acknowledgments. Would they like a receipt monthly? Or is a statement at the end of the tax year more convenient?
Don’t confuse acknowledgments and thanking your donors, however.
5. Thank them at every opportunity.
Write to tell them first about good news or achievements. And be sure you credit their gifts, not your organization, with the win.
The worst thing you can do is to stop communicating because their gifts are set for the year.
Continue to keep them informed. Show them their impact. Continue to make your case for monthly giving after they’ve signed on!
And every time you do, thank them.
If you send a newsletter, spotlight one of the group’s members there.
I also found monthly donors responded well to our newsletter and the soft ask. In fact, several made additional gifts via the newsletter. We just had to give them a reason!
Monthly donors are a treasure you should be cultivating now
It’s not hard or scary.
It does take some more work, but nothing you can’t do.
Any size organization can do it!
An interview my friend Pamela Grow did with Harvey McKinnon years ago.
Photo thanks to Ryan McGuire at Gratisography.