Increase Donor Loyalty by creating a Monthly Giving Program
June 20, 2021

Increase Donor Loyalty by creating a Monthly Giving Program

Why a Monthly Giving Program is Important!

  • Higher Retention Rate:  Monthly donors stay loyal (90% vs. 23% for new donors; 90% monthly donor average vs. 60% for ongoing donors).
  • A higher return on investment - The average monthly online donation is $52 ($624 per year) compared to the average one-time gift of $128. On average, a recurring donor will give 42% more in one year than those who give one-time gifts. Monthly donors also have a greater lifetime revenue per donor. Finally, 52% of Millennials are more likely to give monthly vs. a large one-time donation. Many people would prefer to pay $12.99 a month rather than $99 a year.  It’s more money, but… it seems less painful.
  • Convenience - Donors sign up once, and their gifts are made automatically and at a frequency of their choosing, giving them flexibility and convenience. Monthly giving is easy to understand and incorporate into their lives.
  • Predictable Revenue - Very few monthly donors cancel their donations. Signing up for monthly giving is a good sign that the donor is engaged and committed to your cause.

Strategies that Work

Monthly or recurring donors are typically small donors, oftentimes on a fixed income. They want to support your organization but are unable to write a big check. They are old, young, couples, and singles. They are for the most part already giving to your organization. They believe in and support your support. It’s up to you to ask them to convert from being a once or twice a year donor to a monthly donor.

Tips, Tricks and Best Practices

Clearly explain to your donors the benefits of giving monthly (e.g., cut overall costs; save trees; how it helps them budget monthly for charitable giving; focus on the convenience of giving and/or being asked to give fewer times.)  If possible include a special incentive to join.

Share Insider opportunities (e.g., monthly givers’ newsletter; recognition event; honor roll listing) or token gifts (as long as these are of intangible or small tangible value there are no legal issues affecting the tax deductibility of the donation).

Make Giving is Easy and Convenient!

  • Setup electronic funds transfer (EFT) with your Bank so credit and debit payment scan be processed monthly (80% of recurring donors give thru credit or debit cards)
  • Setup recurring donations (ACH) thru bank accounts (20% of recurring donors give thru their bank accounts.)
  • Investigate whether or not your Client Relationship Management software has a credit card processing function AND whether or not it supports recurring gifts.

Segment Your Database:  Identify donors likely to make recurring gifts.

  • All first-time donors because they have not yet developed a pattern of giving.
  • Ongoing donors who have made multiple gifts during the course of the year.
  • Mid-level donors ripe for an upgrade (e.g., people who have been giving you $50/$100/$200over the past few years and are growing increasingly in love with you)

Name your Monthly Giving Program

  • Give it a brand so donors feel they are “members.” People like to belong.
  • Give donors benefits such as increased access or exclusive updates and opportunities.
  • Give donors a specific contact person so they feel special.
  • Write an intro letter (email, phone calls, newsletter story)announcing this new program.
  • Reminder: The success of your monthly giving program is integration and cross-channel promotion.

Monthly Donors are Special: Take Good Care of Them

  • Thank them often and tell them how their monthly gifts are making a difference.
  • Use social media and/or texting to send regularly scheduled update message (e.g.  Monthly givers served food to 200 families this week/month)
  • Send regular gifts of content to build loyalty (compelling stories; useful “how to” templates, lists or videos; recommendations; reading lists; research papers; reports)
  • Send interactive content such as a “story of the month” demonstrating how their giving made a difference.  Ask for retweets, follows, comments, advocacy actions, and attendance at events.
  • Enable tribute giving through an online form, thereby giving monthly donors a bigger bangfor their buck (e.g., each month they can designate their gift be made in honor or memory of someone different)

Acquire New Monthly Donors by using a variety of strategies:

  • Offer recurring giving option for every campaign/appeal.
  • Create a special crowdfunding (text/email) campaign with a recurring giving option.
  • Hold a volunteer phone-a-thon to transition one-time donors to monthly donors by thanking current annual donors for previous giving and making a recurring gift ask.
  • Implement a mailing campaign with a specific appeal to become a recurring donor.
  • Implement asocial media campaign that builds community online across multiple channels, while promoting monthly giving
  • Secure phone numbers:  Send text messages (e.g.,“1200 hot meals were served last month because you cared. Click her to join the “Name of Monthly Program” club.”)

Upgrade current Monthly Giving Donors

  • Base this increase on the growth you anticipate in your programs (if you’ll serve 5%more people, ask for 5% more dollars)
  • Base this increase on levels of benefits you will offer (e.g., “Meal a Month Club” members receive X and Y; “Meal a Month Heroes” members receive X, Y and Z)
  • Base this increase on a challenge grant you have in place.

Countdown from seven...

Once you develop your program, follow these seven steps to successfully launch your Monthly Giving Campaign:

  1. Create a monthly giving launch letter / appeal.
  2. Develop a webpage for monthly giving.
  3. Send your monthly giving launch letter.
  4. Send out a monthly giving launch email.
  5. Follow-up with phone calls.
  6. Welcome your monthly donors.
  7. Add monthly giving as an option to ALL of your fundraising appeals.
MP Consulting