Erica Waasdorp, Monthly Giving Guru

Can you pull in new monthly giving donors from your regular appeal letters? Yes, you really can. It’s actually quite easy to generate new monthly donors via your regular direct mail fundraising program.

Today we have a Guest Post from Erica Waasdorp, Monthly Giving guru.

Erica Waasdorp is an international consultant, trainer and speaker with deep direct response experience.  She’s author of Monthly Giving, The Sleeping Giant, an excellent guide to setup a profitable monthly giving program. Erica has directed acquisition, monthly giving, major-donor and planned-giving programs in seven countries: US, Canada, UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Australia and South Africa for the International Fund for Animal Welfare. Her upgrade strategy for the monthly giving program in the UK won IFAW and their telemarketing agency the Gold UK DMA award and the Gold FEDMA Award in 1998.

Erica recently gave an Advanced Monthly Giving Presentation for us:

Advanced Monthly Giving: How to Develop, Manage, and Execute Sustainable Monthly Giving for Your Non Profit 

If you’d like to create or upgrade your own monthly giving program with 49 examples of how to ask and close monthly gifts clink the above title link.

These ladies could be your next monthly donors!

These ladies could be your next monthly donors!

Here’s Erica’s guest post:

The two rules for closing monthly gifts via mail: 

1. Ask the right donors

2. Ask the right way

So who are the right donors, you might ask? The most likely monthly giving prospects are are donors who just gave! They can be existing donors, but even new donors who just gave for the first time.

The most likely monthly giving prospects are the ones who just gave.

They are also donors who gave less than $100. They are not your big check writers. Timing is crucial. They are enthusiastic right now, just after they have given. They have given their support to your cause. They’re happy! Now’s the time to ask them to either join your monthly donor program or for that second gift.

Senior Man Using Laptop --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Thank you mail — Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Ask for a monthly gift in the right way – even in a thank you letter!

If you ask the right way, you’ll be able to convert new donors as soon as they join your organization. Here’s an example of the approach to use, right in the thank you letter:

Thank you so much for your gift of xx$xx to [name of organization]!

[Focus on why the gift is important for you and the impact it’s making on the people/animals/mission you serve].

That’s why I’d like to invite you to join a privileged group of special supporters, called [name of program].

[Focus on benefits and ease of program for donor]

Note, the benefits should really focus on the donor, how easy it is for them, how they can donate even smaller amounts, convenient. Then include a paragraph on how important it is to the mission you serve that the funds come in on an ongoing basis and that you can count on it. Print the text in large letters so it even looks easy and convenient from just looking at the appeal.

Where to make the monthly giving ask?

Include the option of monthly giving first on the reply form and add this option:

Make a one time donation.

Not everybody may be ready to join your monthly donor program but you will still receive donations.

I have seen response rates of 1.5 to 2% of donors joining the monthly donor program and response rates of 4 to 5% of donors making a one time gift in the thank you letter.

Consider doing a simple variation of this letter and send it to donors who just donated to your direct mail appeal.

What do you have to lose by starting to ask your donors to join your monthly donor program early?

They’ll stay with you a lot longer if you do!

Don’t forget to get Erica’s presentation if you want more help.

You can find out more and purchase the $49 webinar recordings here.



Here’s a smart email strategy for the last week of the year that will absolutely bring in more gifts. Remember when you get repeated emails in your in-box reminding you about something? I don’t know about you but I absolutely need these reminders. I am moving so fast(way too fast most of the time!) And I can’t keep quite up with my schedule and my to-do list sometimes, too.

God bless the email reminders!

I am eternally grateful for them in my dim, over-saturated-with-media-and-too-many -ideas brain. Don’t back off sending emails to the final group of non-donors at the very end of the year. They just may be like me – fully intending to make that gift, but haven’t quite gotten around to it yet. Here’s a great strategy from Convio, the nonprofit technology company which recently merged with Blackbaud.

Plan to send a three-part, carefully timed, coordinated email appeal at the very end of the year. 

Convio’s suggested: *   a “holiday support” e-mail on Dec. 23 *   an e-mail reminder mentioning a specific urgent goal on Dec. 29 *   and a final reminder of your goal on Dec. 31 According to Fundraising Success Magazine’s email newsletter,  this particular campaign by Convivo resulted in a 47% increase in the amount raised online in December over the previous December. The campaign netted a 109% increase in total income raised year over year.” That got my attention for sure. Smart, strategic email appeals are a must-do the last week of the year. Direct mail expert Mal Warwick said these types of emails at the very end of the year are an essential “don’t miss” fundraising strategy that will definitely bring in more contributions.” If you want to be sure to nail your year-end online fundraising, join me on Tuesday for my next webinar: “Last Minute Fundraising Strategies To Take You Over Goal!”

I’m going to give you a complete checklist to make sure your online appeals, website and donation pages are exactly right.
You’ll find out who makes last minute gifts, what motivates them, and what they want to hear, especially now, in 2012.   I’l show you some donation pages that work, and some that don’t work.
If you’d like to attend, just subscribe to my INSIDERS series here (you can do 1 month, 3 months etc). The INSIDERS are the smartest, most can-do fundraising professionals around – and you need to be hanging with us!

What kind of year-end appeals are you sending in December?

How many are you sending? When are you sending? What are you saying? I’d love to know!  Leave a comment and let me know!