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Save Time and Grow Monthly Giving with Donor Accounts

Does your nonprofit have limited staff, time, and funds? If so, you are not alone. Unfortunately, most nonprofits are operating with minimal resources. Nonprofit staff often must manage many tasks. They must also find ways to maximize the impact of limited resources. Nonprofits need to seek innovative solutions to address these constraints.

A monthly giving program is an innovative solution that can solve these challenges.

By focusing on repeat donors, you can spend less time pursuing new ones. You can also create a more reliable financial foundation for your nonprofit. Loyal donors provide a steady influx of funds to nonprofits. This allows the nonprofits to focus on their mission and impact. They can do this rather than worrying about fundraising.

Some nonprofits object to starting a monthly giving program. They worry about the time to service monthly givers. You can lessen this worry by setting up a donor account, sometimes called a donor portal.

A donor portal empowers donors to self-serve. It reduces the admin burden on your organization and enhances the donor experience. This makes it a valuable investment for efficient and sustainable monthly giving programs.

Read below to learn how donor accounts can save staff time, help your monthly giving program grow, and retain donors.

What is a donor account?

A donor account is a secure online platform. It allows donors to manage their donations, update payment information, and see their giving history. They can do this without needing staff help.

Save staff (and donor) time

With a self-service account, donors can do tasks on their schedule. They do not have to wait for help. In today’s fast-paced world, donors dislike waiting.

A donor account is available 24/7. Your office is not. By providing a donor account you show that you value and respect your donors’ time. You can provide 24/7 donor support.

What are some self-service options you can offer via a donor account?

  • Checking the status of a monthly gift

  • Changing a payment method on a monthly gift

  • Changing the amount of a recurring donation

  • Cancelling a recurring gift

  • Requesting copies of receipts

Example donor account

Self-service portals empower donors by giving them a sense of control and independence. Donors can change their giving without needing to talk to nonprofit staff. Today, 67% of customers prefer self-service over speaking to a human.

Donor accounts offer time and cost-saving benefits for the nonprofit as well. Have you ever had to chase a monthly donor down? Were you trying to get new payment info after their card expired? How many emails and phone calls did the process take?

Say it took one of your development staff an hour to update a donor’s profile. Let’s say that person makes $25/hour, the average for a development associate. That costs your nonprofit $25 to serve that donor. Self-service would have been free. Those hidden costs can add up.

Instead of chasing that donor, imagine a donor portal. It automatically alerts donors to payment issues and gives them the tools to fix them.

Allow donors to update their payment method

Your staff’s time is valuable. Your organization should try to cut the number of support emails and phone calls to solve simple donor updates. Then, staff can spend more time on real donor stewardship. They can also provide the services driving your mission.

Retain more recurring donors

Getting a new donor costs your nonprofit a lot. It costs much more than keeping an existing one. Studies have shown that it can cost five times more to attract a new donor than to keep an existing one.

Organizations often invest a lot in marketing and outreach to get new donors. However, keeping current donors is cheaper and more profitable.

A donor account can help you keep donors, especially monthly donors.

Monthly donors may stop giving for several reasons. These include changes in pay. Also, a lack of communication and engagement from the organization. Or, a feeling that their contributions are not making a real impact.

Thank the donor

A good donor account should show a donor how much they are helping. It should show their financial impact on the nonprofit and its community. Donors should see the amounts they’ve given and receive thanks for their contributions.

In a 4aGoodCause-powered donor portal, donors see a giving dashboard. It shows them the impact of their giving and a welcome statement thanking them for it. You can use a donor account as another touchpoint to express appreciation to donors for their support.

Show the financial impact of donations

Offer a downgrade option

You can also add downgrade offers to the portal for donors who might be in financial hardship. The offers let them decrease their giving amount instead of canceling their monthly gift. You make your revenue from a recurring donor over the long term.

A donor could downgrade from $20 per month to $10 per month during a financial crisis instead of stopping giving altogether. That’s $120 per year you’ll still be earning.

Offer donors in crisis the option to downgrade their monthly gift

Reduce involuntary churn

Monthly donors also leave for involuntary reasons. These include expired credit cards or failed payments. This happens when the credit or debit card on file for their recurring donation is no longer valid. Or when the payment transaction fails for some reason.

When this happens, the donation does not go through as planned. This causes the donor to stop their monthly contributions. Organizations need to have systems in place to promptly address and rectify these issues to keep their monthly donors and sustain their funding.

A donor account provides communication to donors. It asks them to take action on failed payments. The donor can visit the portal and update their payment method when a monthly donation fails.

Not every donor feels secure giving their credit card information over the phone to staff. So, offering a secure online account gives that donor an easy, convenient, fix-it-on-their-own-time way of solving the issue. It will help donors keep their subscriptions active.

Alert donors to failed payments

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Grow donations

A donor portal can grow the number of donors in your monthly giving program. It can also increase the amounts that donors give each month.

Make cancellation easy

First, donors should be able to cancel a recurring donation in a donor account. This may seem counterintuitive. But, easy cancellation can boost enrollments in your monthly giving program.  When donors know they can cancel a subscription, they feel more confident in enrolling. This assurance can lead to higher enrollment numbers. It removes a barrier to entry and addresses a concern of donors.

Another way to grow your monthly giving program is to increase the levels at which donors are giving.

Reinforce human nature

The dashboard we offer in a 4aGoodCause-powered donor account can make your program feel like a game. Gamification is integrating game-like elements into business. These elements include point scoring, competition, and rewards. They are used to motivate and engage people.

Donor accounts on 4aGoodCause offer a bar chart. It shows the donor their growing giving impact. This chart taps into powerful psychological factors. Human behavior is driven by factors such as the need to achieve and be recognized. Donors give more to see their chart grow.

The more a donor gives the more their chart grows

Encourage upgrades

Many nonprofits run upgrade campaigns asking monthly donors to increase their gifts. Your donor portal can reinforce the concept of an upgrade. 4aGoodCause clients present an “upgrade offer banner” above their current monthly gift. It encourages them to increase their giving amount by 10%.

For example, if a donor is giving $50 per month it would ask them to upgrade to $55. The donor can take advantage of this offer with two clicks. Then, the offer disappears for 45 days so as not to overwhelm the donor with too many requests.

Encourage donors to give more

How to implement a donor portal

Follow these best practices as you roll out a donor account.

Make it optional

Donor accounts are normally optional for donors and should be so. Never force your donors to create an account during the online donation process. Donors should never have to log in to donate.

Save the suggestion of creating a donor account after the gift is made. Tell donors the benefits they will get by making the account. They will get independence and convenience by taking control of their giving. On 4aGoodCause, donors can create an account after their donation.

Make the creation of donor accounts optional

Make sure it has all the features your donors need

Your donor accounts should have all the needed features. They should save staff time and help grow your monthly giving program. They do this through better donor retention and recurring gift upgrades.

Include these features on your donor portal:

  • Secure but simple password protection

  • Branding with your nonprofit logo and colors to strengthen the relationship between your organization and the donor.

  • Mobile-friendly design so the portal works on all devices from computers to tablets to phones

  • Thank-you messages that make donors feel appreciated

  • Dashboards with visual charts that show donors the impact of their giving growing over time

  • Tools to edit or cancel a monthly gift

  • Confirmation emails that let donors know their gift updates were successful

  • Payment failure alerts to donors

  • Upgrade offers to increase giving amounts

  • Tools to edit peer-to-peer fundraising pages for fundraisers involved in your campaigns

  • Contact information in case donors have questions about their account

Promote its use

To achieve success, active promotion of your portal is essential. Donors need to know that a donor account is useful for them and how to access it. Make sure to link to your donor portal from any donor touchpoint including:

  • Your website

  • Your email newsletters

  • Your email signatures

At 4aGoodCause, we automatically append donation receipts with a link to create or log into your donor account to view your donation history, manage recurring donations, and print receipts.

Donors will still call your office looking for help. When donors call, first solve their problem. Then, tell them how they can fix these issues next time with their donor account and how they can access it.

Let 4aGoodCause implement a donor portal for you

Want a donor portal for your donors? 4aGoodCause makes it easy. Every nonprofit that uses 4aGoodCause gets a branded, secure donor portal. Donors can use it to manage their donations, update payment info, and access their giving history.

Want to see it in action? Book a demo now.

Ronald Pruitt

Ronald Pruitt

Ronald is the President and Founder of 4aGoodCause, a simple and effective fundraising CRM that specializes in earning recurring revenue for nonprofits through monthly giving. For 25 years, Ronald has had the joy of doing what he loves, building online solutions that make a difference in the world. He’s helped raise millions of dollars online for small nonprofits across the country. Connect with Ronald on LinkedIn.

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