Three Steps to Launch a Robust Monthly Giving Program

Monthly giving programs are becoming more and more popular revenue sources.  

So today, we have a guest post by author and international monthly giving guru Erica Waasdorp.

Erica’s the author of  Monthly Giving: the Sleeping Giant: How Small Gifts Can Become Powerful Tools to Support Any Organization. – She’s a sought-after advisor on monthly giving programs.

There’s been somewhat of a landslide of late when it comes to “sustainers,” also known as monthly or recurring donors.

These are donors who give automatically from a credit/debit card or bank account.

Amazing recent statistics on monthly giving programs:  

  • Monthly donor retention rates: 90% and up (double the average donor retention rate of 45 percent!)
  • 60% of donors under 35 give monthly.
  • The average monthly gift is $24, or $288 a year.

Tools and systems have changed over the past few years to accommodate monthly giving. You really have no reason not to start a recurring donor program.

So, what is the hesitation?

I’ve found that there are three major steps nonprofit leaders need to take to successfully launch a profitable monthly giving effort:

1. Get your leadership behind the monthly giving program as a priority.    

Doesn’t everything start with a decision? It’s as simple as that. 

Help your leaders understand why monthly giving is so powerful.

Consider this: Look at your smaller donors. 

Many are probably on a fixed income. Or they have kids in school or college.

They just can’t write the big checks (right now). With monthly giving, no gift is too small.

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Statistics show that monthly donors give up to two to three times more money than if they were just giving single donations.

More importantly, with monthly donors you can count on the money just coming in.

You can plan your program expenditures. It’s almost as good as an insurance policy, especially if you can’t do any other fundraising.

Over the past few months, we’ve seen some major hurricanes, earthquakes, and wildfires.

What if the mail can’t be delivered for a while? What if the power is out and there’s no internet?

With monthly donors, the funds will come in, rain or shine, in normal or disaster situations.

Finally, the cost to raise a dollar for monthly donors is typically low, between $0.02 to $0.05.

You can get started with minimal investment, using the tools you already have.

2. Allocate staff to the monthly giving program.

You can start a monthly giving program with just a little bit of focused time and no extra staff.

You have the tools. You just need to get donors into the program.

Believe me, with just one hour every week, you can accomplish a lot.

It’s important to realize that monthly giving is NOT a one-shot campaign.

It’s important to designate one person on your staff to be in charge of the monthly giving project.

When there’s someone who assumes responsibility, you can be sure there will be constant attention to your monthly giving appeals – and donors.

To give you one example: A small animal charity with 2,500 donors has already reached 350 monthly donors, generating some $100,000 a year. That’s the power of monthly giving.

3. Create a plan and launch your first monthly donor campaign.

Create a plan based on your current donor base and the constituents you can reach.

See how you can add the monthly giving message into your current communication mix.

Your success rate will depend on:

  • how many donors you already in place,
  • how many email names you have,
  • how many Facebook followers you have,
  • and how often you think you can add in requests for monthly giving.

The most successful organizations ask all the time, and they’ll get there sooner than later.

The good news is that if you really stay focused on your program, you’ll get to the stage where you’ll do so well, you’ll be able to hire more staff.

You need to keep promoting the program.

You need to keep asking and the more often you ask, the more monthly donors you’ll generate.

Create your plan and keep working it and you’ll do well.

BOTTOM LINE: A Monthly Giving program is a no brainer.

How about sharing a comment  and let us know how YOU are doing with your monthly giving program!