How to Turn Regular Donors into Monthly Donors


Monthly giving is one of the great pots of gold for you and your cause.

It’s one of the best ways to grow more funding from your current donors, instead of having to beat the bushes for new donors all the time.

Don’t forget that monthly giving is also a happy experience for your donors.

I personally am a monthly donor to several nonprofits.

And I feel glad and contented to know that I am such a die-hard supporter of these special causes.

I see all those contributions coming out of my account every month. It doesn’t worry me at all. Instead,  it makes me feel deeply connected to something more important than my little life.

So while I am using words like profit, pot of gold, and money in this post, it doesn’t mean that the donors feel used and manipulated.

Just the opposite.

These people love you and your cause.

Your monthly donors are your pot of gold because they are your most loyal backers.

And you can’t change the world without them standing right alongside you!

And they give more too.

When one of your donors switches to monthly gifts, they often give at least 3 times more.

Just think, if 10% of your regular donors became monthly donors, how much money would that mean for your important cause?

I’ve written a lot about monthly giving: my 20 Best Practices here; and my 18 Tips here.

Check them out and let’s get to work!

Erica Waasdorp, Monthly Giving Guru

Erica Waasdorp, Monthly Giving Guru

Erica Waasdorp, monthly giving guru, presented a webinar for us yesterday where she shared 49 different ways and examples of HOW to make a monthly giving ask.

If you missed the webinar, you can still get the entire presentation including valuable recordings and powerpoint here. 

Who are your top monthly donor prospects?

Erica says that they are your smaller donors. People who are giving under $100.

Those are the people to ask, and ask often.

But ask lovingly!

Monthly giving leads to better donor retention.

Look at this chart from the Blackbaud Sustainer Benchmarking Study.

It’s comparing overall retention of donors making single gifts to donors making sustaining gifts:monthly blackbaud chart

  • Consecutive donors for two years straight  –  single gift only –  retention was 50%.
  • Sustaining gifts only – retention was 64%.
  • Both sustaining and single gifts –  retention of 84%!

So HOW do you convert these wonderful single donors?

Send special targeted appeals asking regular donors to become monthly donors.

This is clearly the best way to convert your one-time donors.

Send a special targeted appeal like this one.

Send a special targeted appeal like this one.

Ask. “Invite.”

Make it obvious. Make it almost ubiquitous.

All your donors should know about the monthly giving club. The title of it should be familiar to them.

And they should know that it’s a great way to dive in and get more involved with your cause.

Remember, never make it about the money.

A “loving” monthly donor ask is always connected to your WORK.

Talk about what you can do and how the donors can change the world with you.

Use a challenge or matching gift to encourage monthly donors.

Try this: “Your monthly gifts will be matched one-for-one.”Screenshot 2015-07-17 08.19.47


T’he Challenge: 300 New HopeBuilders by February 28″

I love matching challenges because they usually have a deadline.

Nothing like that urgency to move someone to act NOW.

Put a monthly giving ask on your home page.

Put a monthly giving program ask right smack on the landing page of your website – just like this:Screenshot 2015-07-17 08.03.49

It’s easy to see. It’s inviting.

This box directly connects the reader to your work and invites her to get involved as a monthly donor.

This is good fundraising.

It’s not pushy.

It’s direct, urgent and does the good work of connecting the donor and helping hungry kids.

Can you possibly ask for a monthly gift in the thank you message?

I am generally absolutely against this practice.

It reeks of bad manners and pushiness.

And last week’s guest post by Erica Waasdorp – who suggested this practice – received a lot of pushback from some smart, experienced fundraisers in the comments.


Erica may have persuaded me otherwise.Screenshot 2015-07-17 08.09.22

There IS a way, perhaps, to ask in a “loving” way, right after an initial gift.

Take a look at this pop-up light box that appears after I make an online gift.

I personally don’t find it offensive at all.

I think it’s because it feels like an “invitation” to become even more involved. And I don’t think a donor would be offended.

So, maybe, if you practice good manners AND make it feel like a loving invitation, you can get away with this!

How many monthly donors do YOU have? And what’s your experience?

Let us know with a comment!