How to build a successful monthly giving program
Do you like the sound of a program that fosters long-term relationships with donors, predicts and increases fundraising income, and has low fundraising costs? Well, then you need a monthly giving program.
What is a monthly giving program?
While 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 withdraw from their credit card or bank account on a monthly (or other term) basis.
Monthly giving programs are easy to set up and administer and have great return on investment (ROI). A recent eBenchmark study reported that the average monthly gift size is $19. Now, we don’t like to brag, but we have to share with you that due to our easy, responsive donation forms, 4aGoodCause clients see an average monthly gift size of $37!
7 tips on how to create monthly giving program success
1. Set a goal
As with any program you start, you need to have a goal. Monetary goals are important for motivation, but you also need to strive to develop a culture in your organization where long-term relationships with donors are cultivated.
2. Suggest recurring giving to one-time donors
When you send a “thank you” to someone who has just made a one-time online donation, suggest they use your monthly giving program. They are already in a giving mood, and were hopefully impressed by your giving form, so monthly giving might be just an option they will choose.
3. Identify and target the most likely candidates
Some people are more likely than others to join a monthly giving program. Go through your donation records and write a special email to anyone who has given multiple times a year, more than 3 years in a row, or a large gift.
4. Make it special
Show your monthly donors that they mean a lot to you. Send thank you notes, welcome packages, create a special club, and/or invite them to monthly donor-only events. None of this has to be expensive or extraordinary. Just do something to make them feel special.
5. Take advantage of ARB (automatic recurring billing)
Automatic recurring billing (ARB) is a convenient and easy-to-use tool for submitting and managing recurring or subscription-based, transactions. The real benefit of this tool is that it holds billing subscriptions so you don’t have to store cards.
6. In-person events
Our clients have had a lot of success with events focused on gaining monthly donors. They host special events with guest speakers that have been impacted by their programs and donors can sign up on the spot to be a monthly giver. They can even do it on their phone since the donation form is responsive.
7. Act on card errors quickly
People change, lose, or renew cards frequently and forget to change their information on many billing websites. When you see there is a card error for one of your donors, request the new information as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to get that donor back.
Above all else, make the process easy and show gratitude. People are choosing to share their hard-earned money with your cause, don’t make them struggle and consistently thank them for their help.