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5 reasons a nonprofit should start a monthly giving program

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Nonprofits want long-term relationships with donors, predictable and ever-increasing fundraising income and low fundraising costs. There is an easy way to accomplish these goals: establish a monthly giving program and let donors enroll online.

Most nonprofits allow donors to give one-time donations online. An increasing number are also allowing donors to enroll as "sustaining" monthly givers. This involves the donor authorizing the nonprofit to debit their credit card or bank account on a monthly basis. This authorization could be for a limited time or open-ended requiring the donor to contact the nonprofit to cancel.

Monthly giving programs are easy to set up and administer and have great return on investment (ROI). Here are just 5 reasons why a monthly giving program is a smart choice for any nonprofit:

1. Monthly giving is convenient and flexible for donors

The more options you can give to donors to join your cause, the better. Becoming a monthly giver allows the donor to budget their giving to charity over a period a time, allowing them to stay more loyal to the non-profit and often give more than they otherwise would. There is a low barrier for the donor to start giving as the first monthly gift is small. The average monthly gift through 4aGoodCause is $37/month. Many donors’ lives are already built around monthly payments, so a monthly payment to a nonprofit they value will hardly be noticeable to them.

2. Donors will give more over time by giving longer

Most of our clients that have monthly giving programs are finding that donors stay loyal to the program and keep their giving going over long periods of time. In general, monthly donors typically stay active givers for four years. Many of our good causes offer an open-ended enrollment for the donor as described above. The majority of donors are keeping their donation commitments active. So, over time, the donor ends up giving more, on average 42% more in the first year, to the organization than they might have with their one-time gift.

3. Nonprofits can strengthen their relationship with donors

When a donor makes a donation to a nonprofit each month, that donation is an opportunity or "touch-point" for the nonprofit to continue to build their relationship with the donor. Donors that have enrolled online could receive an automated thank-you message each month for their monthly gift or the nonprofit could create an email newsletter just for members of the monthly giving club. These messages could include event announcements from the nonprofit, news on how donations are being used or invitations to volunteer or visit the nonprofit's web site. You no longer need to ask them for money with every communication, and can instead focus on building the relationship.

4. Recurring monthly donations are predictable income for the nonprofit

With a monthly giving program in place, a nonprofit can better predict their fundraising income. This helps the nonprofit budget the money they will have on hand to spend on their programs and constituents. Plus, as the charity continues to enroll new donors this income will rise over time.

5. It's easy and inexpensive to set up and maintain

Setting up a monthly giving option on an online donation form is pretty easy. On the front-end, it just requires adding a form field that asks the donor whether they want their donation to recur. On the back-end, a nonprofit will need a secure, and easy-to-use service to manage the recurring donor subscriptions. Our clients use the Automated Recurring Billing (ARB) Service from Authorize.net. This service, along with our donation forms, helps automate the whole process of recurring monthly giving. Did I mention it's cheap? The ARB service comes with the Authorize.net gateway, which is typically $20/month or less. That is typically less than the revenue from one monthly donation.

Get in touch with us if you'd like to discuss how monthly giving can impact your nonprofit.

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Ronald Pruitt

Ronald Pruitt

Since founding 4aGoodCause in 1998, Ronald has had the joy of doing what he loves - building software that makes a difference in the world. For almost 20 years, Ronald and the 4aGoodCause online fundraising platform have helped raise millions of dollars for nonprofits from Maine to Hawaii. Follow Ronald on Twitter at @4aGC.

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