18 Tips to Create a Wildly Profitable Monthly Giving Program

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I am so impressed with the power of a monthly giving program. Here’s why:Stock Photo

  • It creates ongoing predictable cash flow.
  • It’s low cost and returns a high RIO.
  • It takes your current donor base and pulls twice (or more!) as much funding from your wonderful donors.
  • It’s relatively cheap – and painless.
  • It’s how you create reliable, SUSTAINABLE fundraising cash flow.
  • It creates a wonderful prospect pool for planned gifts.

So why aren’t we stampeding towards monthly giving?

Here’s a series of tips that might trigger you to ACT and make this happen for YOUR agency!

1. Get your organization’s commitment.

This program often starts slowly and builds momentum over time. Be sure you will be able to stay the course, or don’t do it.

2. Be prepared to invest time and resources.

It will takes time up front to create the success that will pay off later.

You’ll need to be prepared to invest even more to market your program as it takes hold.

3. Put one person in charge.

Put One Smart Staffer in Charge

When you have one person who OWNS the program and takes charge, it makes all the difference.

4. Get a seamless back end system in place.

You’ll need a plan to handle delinquencies, expired cards, denied charges.

And you’ll need good reporting to track, measure and adjust your program.

5.  Identify your most likely monthly giving prospects.

Those are your most loyal donors – those who give several times a year.

6. Create mini-campaigns targeted to specific segments of donors.

Try sending former board members a special appeal. Or your volunteers.

7. Use different channels.

Use mail, phone, online, volunteers, events, magazine, face-to-face, TV, radio. They all work!

8. Use the phone for followup.

Phone loyal donors and ask them to give monthly.

It’s nice to use the personal call to ask donors to make this kind of investment.

9. Show donors how their monthly gift buys something specific.

Tell the donor what money will do: $25 will protect an acre of rain forest.  $50 a month will provide 5 meals a week to a hungry child.

Donors love that. Don’t you?

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10. Ask for upgrades often.

This is also an easy pitch: “Would you like to go from $20 – $30?”

11. Offer monthly giving to all donors in their thank you letters.

The “earlier a second gift is obtained or the donor is converted to a monthly donor, the more loyal and valuable they become to your organization,” says expert David Hazeltine.

12. Test, test and test some more.

Testing will help your appeal stand out from the crowd.

It may take time to get it right.

If your first appeals don’t work well, keep tweaking and testing. Until you get it right.

Ask some donors for their reactions to see what appeals to them.

13. Add urgency to your pitch.


You have to voice an “immediate, urgent and ongoing need for support.”

If you can do that, then you can build a monthly donor program, says Lisa Sargent.

14. Give MG space on your home page.

Very, very important!  Emphasize – not just giving, but monthly giving – above the fold, so to speak.

Who can resist this cute kid?

15. Give your MG donors a cool brand.

Give your group a name. Doctors Without Borders calls its monthly donors “Field Partners.

Boston Children’s Hospital calls them “Dream Makers.”

Pretty cool.

16. Give MG donors terrific customer service.

People are giving more and they expect more.

Leaving your monthly donors alone is probably the biggest mistake you can make, because they will drop off if you do not acknowledge their generosity in special ways.

17. Use a welcome kit.

These donors are making a big commitment, so let them know how important they are.

The key is not what you send but how fast you send it, according to expert Jo Sullivan.

18. Find special ways to thank them.

Be creative with your thank you’s.

It will pay off!

Want to learn more about how to set up a profitable monthly giving program? Then check our our virtual Master Class on Monthly GIving:

Monthly Giving: How Small Donors Can Generate Sustainable Funds for Your Nonprofit

Our guest expert, Erica Waasdorp, has just published a terrific how-to guide on starting and growing a monthly giving program: “Monthly Giving. The Sleeping Giant.” (love that title – isn’t it fun to think of money as a giant!)

She’ll be sharing a smart perspective on turning small donors into frequent donors:

Eric Waasdorp will be our Guest Expert on monthly giving on July 10!

Eric Waasdorp will be our Guest Expert on monthly giving on July 10.

– Challenges every monthly giving program faces (and solutions)

– First questions to answer before you launch your program

– Smart ways to organize the back end of your monthly giving program

– The best way to actually ask for monthly gifts

– Who your prime prospects are to become monthly giving donors

– How to create a direct mail appeal for monthly gifts

– How to convert a complaining donor into a monthly giver

– How to retain your monthly donors and keep them giving and giving

– How to prepare your board and leaders to understand the long term impact of monthly giving

So if you want some help setting up a sustainable, reliable cash flow from monthly giving, do check out our Virtual Master Classes on Monthly Giving.

We recorded two sessions with Erica. Here’s the first basic primer on monthly giving (start here!).

And here’s her advanced class for us, just recorded this year:

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

You can get the audio, video and powerpoints of these classes, so you can listen at your convenience.

If you are a member of my INSIDERS professional development community, these Master Classes are already included in your subscription.

Please do take advantage of the tremendous opportunities that a monthly giving program can offer your nonprofit.

I want you to raise tons and tons in the coming fiscal year!