Why Do Donors Give Monthly? 5 Motivations You Should Reinforce
Recurring monthly giving provides a steady flow of support that organizations can count on. But what drives donors to commit to these regular contributions? The motivations are diverse, and each tells a unique story about the needs and values of the donor. Let’s explore 5 key reasons why donors give monthly. We’ll delve into the psychology behind their generosity, the benefits they perceive, the impact they aim to achieve, and how you can support their motivations. Understanding these motivations will equip you not only to appreciate your donors more deeply but also to inspire further monthly giving.
1. Convenience and budgeting
In today’s fast-paced world, convenience is key. People are constantly looking for ways to simplify their lives and make tasks easier. This desire for convenience extends to charitable giving as well. Donors are increasingly opting to give monthly because of the convenience it offers.
Simplified giving process
By committing to a monthly donation, donors can set up an automated payment system, eliminating the need to remember to make a donation each month. This automation saves time and effort, allowing donors to focus on other aspects of their lives while still making a positive impact.
Monthly budgeting and planning
Another motivation behind monthly giving is the ability to incorporate donations into one’s monthly budget. By giving a fixed amount each month, donors can plan their finances more effectively. This approach allows individuals to support causes they care about and make a significant impact over time, without experiencing any financial strain.
How to reinforce this motivation
Your monthly donation asks should stress the ease of your donation process and the convenience of automatic recurring donations. A good example of the language you might use is represented on the American Bird Conservancy’s donation page. They explain how easy it is to give monthly, how it saves you time and how to easily get support when you need it. Recurring giving is presented as a stress-free way to support their conservation efforts.
I love that they also let donors know that by making a monthly gift the donor reduces their cost, allowing more money to be put toward the cause.
In addition, you should suggest monthly gifts in various amounts. By offering suggested giving levels you allow the donor to pick an amount that fits their budget and aligns with the impact they wish to make.
The environmental nonprofit Oceana has a wonderful, in-depth landing page on its website that promotes its monthly giving community, The Tide. In addition to detailed information on how to join and why you should join they explain how your donation will be used. Here they present suggested giving levels from $10 to $100 per month, each with a description of the impact that level of gift can make.
2. Sense of purpose and impact
Donors are motivated by a strong sense of purpose and the desire to make a tangible impact.
Long-term commitment to the cause
Monthly donors are driven by a deep-rooted commitment to the cause they support. They understand that real change takes time and sustained effort. By pledging a monthly donation, they demonstrate their dedication to making a lasting impact. They are not simply looking to make a one-time contribution; instead, they are committed to a cause for the long term.
Tangible results and progress
Recurring donors want to see tangible results and progress. They want to know that their contributions are making a difference and creating positive change in the world. By giving on a monthly basis, donors can witness the impact of their support over time.
This sense of connection and seeing the results of their contributions firsthand reinforces their commitment and motivates them to continue giving month after month.
How to reinforce this motivation
Nonprofits should provide regular updates on the impact of monthly donations. These updates should come through various channels, such as newsletters, emails, or social media platforms. By sharing concrete examples of how their work is changing lives, nonprofits can effectively communicate the impact of donors’ contributions.
Regular updates on impact not only inform donors about the progress and achievements of the organization but also allow them to feel like active participants in the mission. When donors see the tangible outcomes of their support, they are more likely to develop a deeper connection with the organization and increase their commitment to monthly giving.
One of my favorite emails that I get each month is from Charity Water. As a monthly donor, I receive their Good News email newsletter. It is filled with stories of how they are putting my donations to work. They even show me the impact I’ve made personally.
To acquire a monthly donor in the first place, make sure your marketing is filled with those same stories of impact, the result a recurring donor will see once they enroll. You’ll also see more donations if you communicate that regular news will be coming to donors. Oceana clearly states that regular updates will happen through a monthly newsletter.
3. Emotional connection and empathy
Empathy and compassion
Empathy and compassion are at the core of why donors give monthly. When individuals feel a deep sense of empathy towards a cause or a group of people in need, they are more likely to take action and offer their support on an ongoing basis. People are naturally inclined to help others, and when they can identify with the struggles and challenges faced by those in need, they are motivated to make a difference.
By emphasizing empathy and compassion, we can tap into the natural inclination of individuals to help others and inspire them to become long-term supporters.
Personal stories and testimonials
One of the most powerful tools at our disposal to evoke empathy is the use of personal stories and testimonials. These stories humanize the cause and make it relatable, allowing donors to see the direct impact of their contributions.
By providing vivid details about the struggles and triumphs of those who have been helped, we can tap into the emotions of potential donors.
For example, imagine reading a heartfelt testimonial from a single mother who was able to provide a better life for her children thanks to the monthly support she received from donors. This personal account can inspire others to take action and become monthly donors themselves.
How to reinforce this motivation
Incorporate stories into the marketing of your monthly giving program and your donor retention efforts. Start by developing your story of one, the story of one, person, place or thing you have impacted with your work. You can present this story with your donation pitch as an example of the impact your organization is making, the impact a donor can make by joining your monthly giving program.
Here is a great example of what I’m talking about. Produced by a sponsor organization, this video tells the story of Randall Bowden, a cancer survivor, and the beneficiary of flights to his medical treatment by Angel Flight South Central.
Do you have stories like this that demonstrate your work? Make sure to include them in those regular updates you are sending to existing monthly donors. Create a process in your nonprofit to gather stories of impact and share them with your community. You’ll excite the emotions of your donors and inspire a longer-lasting relationship to your cause.
4. Perceived value and benefits
Recurring donors want to feel like they are part of something special. They want to know that their ongoing support is not only making a difference but also providing them with unique benefits and experiences.
Exclusive membership or benefits
Imagine being part of an exclusive club where you have access to special perks and privileges that others don’t. That’s the kind of experience donors seek when they choose to give monthly. By offering an exclusive membership or benefits program, organizations can create a sense of belonging and recognition for their monthly donors.
Access to special events or content
Humans have an innate desire for unique experiences and behind-the-scenes access. Donors who give monthly appreciate the opportunity to be part of special events or access exclusive content that is not available to the general public. This gives them a sense of being insiders and reinforces their commitment to the cause.
How to reinforce this motivation
Your nonprofit should provide exclusive perks or benefits to its monthly giving members. This might include benefits such as early access to new initiatives, inexpensive swag, donor recognition opportunities, or personalized welcome kits. Check out this big list of donor benefit ideas. Take special note of ones that don’t cost your organization out-of-pocket money. These exclusive perks not only make donors feel valued but also incentivize them to continue their monthly contributions.
Roots of Development, an environmental nonprofit in Washington, DC, has given much thought to a benefits package for their monthly givers including special recognition, discounts and opportunities to contribute to strategy meetings.
Your organization should also organize special events, such as donor appreciation dinners or VIP tours, to provide an unforgettable experience for their monthly donors. These events allow donors to interact with staff members, see the impact of their contributions firsthand, and feel like an integral part of the organization’s mission.
In addition to events, offering exclusive content can also be a powerful motivator for monthly donors. This can include behind-the-scenes videos, interviews with experts or beneficiaries, or sneak peeks into upcoming projects. By providing this exclusive content, organizations not only reward their monthly donors but also keep them informed and engaged in the work being done.
Members of the Stonewall Quarter Share, the recurring giving club of the Stonewall Community Foundation, get access to multiple events throughout the year that connect the members with each other and with the greater cause. I love that they publish the highlights from those events on social media, which can attract new members to their community.
5. Social influence and community
Donors who give monthly are often motivated by a sense of social influence and belonging to a community. Joining a community of like-minded individuals provides a sense of connection and shared purpose, making donors feel part of something bigger than themselves.
Joining a community of like-minded individuals
When donors join a community, they gain access to a network of individuals who are passionate about creating positive change. This network provides a platform for sharing ideas, experiences, and success stories, creating a supportive environment where donors can engage with others who understand their motivations.
Peer pressure and social norms
Another factor that motivates donors to give monthly is the influence of peer pressure and social norms. Humans are inherently social creatures, and we often look to others for cues on how to behave. When donors see their friends, family, or colleagues supporting a cause, they may feel compelled to join in and contribute as well.
How to reinforce this motivation
Nonprofits can harness this motivation by fostering a sense of community and showcasing the growing number of individuals who are already part of the monthly giving movement.
Start by naming your monthly giving program and defining who makes up that program and what they believe in. City Square is a nonprofit in Dallas working to end poverty. They define their monthly giving program, the Square, as “…a generous group of monthly donors who are committed to fighting poverty. When we work together, we multiply our impact for our neighbors.”. Donors who give monthly to City Square don’t just become monthly supporters. They become members of the Square, a community of people, like themselves, that believe in fighting poverty.
To take advantage of the motivation of peer pressure show how many donors are giving to you monthly. This is social proof that your program is popular and other donors should get involved. Don’t have a lot of monthly donors yet? Don’t worry! Gather testimonials from your first few recurring givers on why they give. Use those testimonials on your website, emails and social media to show potential donors that your program is worthy of their investment.
Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee understands the power of recurring donor testimonials. Their website shares the stories of four monthly giving families and why they support their cause. Each story ends by asking readers to join that family by becoming monthly sustainers themselves.
Support the reasons donors give
The motivations discussed in this blog post shed light on the multifaceted nature of donor behavior. From the desire for convenience and impact to the sense of belonging and personal fulfillment, each motivation offers a unique opportunity for nonprofits to connect with donors on a deeper level. Supporting the reasons why donors give helps you drive more participation and revenue in your monthly giving program.
Ready to acquire more monthly givers?
Are you ready to take your monthly giving program to the next level? Request a demo today to see how you can acquire more monthly givers and increase your nonprofit’s long-term fundraising success and retention goals. With the right tools and strategies, you can create a sustainable and reliable revenue stream for your organization.