Monthly giving is the fastest growing segment of digital fundraising, offering benefits for both donors and nonprofits. Nonprofits can rely on monthly giving for consistent revenue to the organization. Plus, monthly donors are more likely to donate larger total gifts and to give over a longer time period. Smaller monthly amounts are a good entry point for donors, and donors can feel like they are providing support throughout the entire year.
Help Your Monthly Donors Find You
Most of the monthly donors that your organization will recruit will be folks who will come to you on their own. Make sure your monthly donor program stands out by placing it prominently on your organization’s website, such as on both your home page and your dedicated donation page. Perhaps you want to add a dedicated monthly giving page. And be sure to promote your monthly donation program as strongly as your campaigns for one-time gifts.
When working to reach new participants in your monthly giving program, it’s also important to know which portion of your audience is most likely to become monthly donors. Recent or frequent donors are often more likely to convert to monthly donors because they have already demonstrated interest in your work.
Another group to target is multichannel donors, or individuals who have donated to your organization in multiple ways (such as online, in the mail, etc.). And don’t forget about lapsed donors who have given in the last several years but who haven’t given recently. They may be excited to come back and support your cause, and a lower monthly giving level may be an encouragement.
Welcome emails sent to new subscribers tend to get high open and click-through rates and are an excellent way to recruit new monthly donors.
Set Up Seasonal Campaigns to Ramp Up Participation
Seasonal campaigns are an excellent way to attract a larger number of donors to your monthly giving program in a shorter amount of time. These campaigns increase the visibility of the program. Plus, they are a chance to show how the monthly giving program connects to your organization’s mission. By spreading out the initiative over a period of time, seasonal campaigns offer you a unique opportunity to demonstrate how your donors’ giving boosts your organization’s mission and its goals.
When using a seasonal campaign, it’s important to have clear goals and a tracking system to measure success. Establishing a deadline can be a good tactic. You might also add a thermometer to your website to show supporters how much you’ve raised, while encouraging them to donate.
If you already have a monthly giving program and want to improve it, consider offering a gift to donors who sign up during the campaign. Gifts are an excellent way both to thank donors for their participation and to motivate them to continue giving.
Use Impact and Show Appreciation to Retain Monthly Donors
Monthly donors are of high value to your organization, so it’s important to create a retention plan to both acknowledge and encourage them to continue giving. Plan to send your monthly donors regular emails thanking them for their contributions, as well as progress reports that allow them to understand the impact of their donation. You can also invite them to increase their monthly gift amount, because people tend to respond positively to this.
Although it’s important to show gratitude and update monthly donors regularly, don’t overwhelm participants with a large amount of communication from your organization. (Don’t send them every appeal that you send to the rest of your list, because they are already giving monthly.)
A key strategy to retain donors is to ensure that monthly donors’ credit card information is always up to date. One way to avoid a decrease in donations as a result of expired credit cards is to create a management system for credit card information. Then, send donors a friendly notice when their card is nearing its expiration date.
Measure the Impact of Your Program
As with any fundraising effort that your nonprofit undertakes, it’s important to have a plan in place to measure the success of your monthly giving program. Here are some key metrics to understand your monthly giving program and its contribution to your organization’s bottom line.
- “Sustainers,” or number of monthly donors
- Total revenue raised from monthly gifts
- Money raised from upgrades
- Average monthly gift
- Lifetime value and duration on file
- Performance by audience segment and channel
Tapping into monthly giving is an excellent way to secure consistent funds for your nonprofit, and, with a proper strategy, it can be incredibly beneficial to your organization and donors.
330+ nonprofits are accepting voice donations via Amazon Alexa devices. Chris Strub writes about the issue on Forbes.com and asks the question: Should more nonprofits make it a focus in 2020?
Every January, the venerable Jim Lynch from TechSoup Global scours the nonprofit landscape in order to share his collection of nonprofit tech trends for the year. This year, he reports on GoFundMe Charity, smart speakers, the ImpactMatters rating system, new proposed federal legislation that would incentivize charitable giving by individuals, how podcasting will be a thing for nonprofits this year, and a new online nonprofit operating system called StratusLIVE.
Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday … Giving Tuesday! That’s how annual traditions are created, and this one is apparently here to stay. Giving Tuesday has grown into a global day of giving. It is a unique opportunity for your organization to engage with your donors, supporters, and volunteers — and raise some money! To help you get the most out of Giving Tuesday, here are nine tips to help you plan.
1. Find a Unique Campaign Theme
Although Giving Tuesday is its own theme, it’s best if you can create a direct connection with your organization. For example, funds raised could be dedicated to a special community project. If you’re working with a corporate partner or a major donor, perhaps they can match donations or enable further charitable actions. Be sure to include partner logos on photos, videos, and donation pages. To inspire your creativity, I recommend this wonderful collection of resources (PDF).
Consider setting a fundraising campaign goal or a goal to recruit a number of new donors. Offering a two-for-one challenge match is a popular strategy for Giving Tuesday. The reason why it’s popular is that nothing moves the needle quite like a match. Donors of all sizes like the idea of their gift being doubled by a supporter or board member.
2. Focus on New Donors and Small Gifts
Giving Tuesday is a great opportunity for your organization to connect with new supporters. Be sure your campaign messaging encourages new gifts, no matter what the size. Your donation page should have a gift string that starts at $5. Stay donor-centric in your messaging and be sure to acknowledge donors on your social media channels (with their permission).
3. Get the Timing Right
Giving Tuesday falls on a Tuesday, but you can start your messaging up to a week ahead of time with email and social media promotion, including on the weekend. Why not add some follow-up messaging on Wednesday or Thursday to thank your donors?
4. Inspire Millennials to Give
Giving Tuesday is a very social and hashtag-friendly day of giving, which appeals to millennials. Be sure to make all aspects of your campaign mobile-friendly, from your emails to your donation page. Also, be sure to encourage social sharing, which millennials are sure to use to tell their friends.
5. Use Social Media to Empower Your Giving Tuesday Fundraising
Donors look to others to decide when and where to give. Social media is the perfect platform to push out Giving Tuesday messaging that is centered around real-world examples, quotes from real people, and lots of photos. Tell your story at Giving Tuesday on all your social channels, and encourage social sharing whenever possible.
Think of the most creative ways you might use social media to promote giving. Recruit a social media volunteer team to create and share engaging content. Set up a tracking system so you can measure the impact on your fundraising that originates in the social channel. Also, make sure that social sharing opportunities are integrated throughout the giving process on both the donation thank-you web page and the email receipt.
6. Use Video to Inspire Giving
Create a short video to promote your Giving Tuesday campaign so you can tell your story and encourage giving. A short minute-long video created on a smartphone should do the trick. Another video approach is to schedule a Facebook Live event to connect with your followers.
7. Create Social Media Images with a Clear Call to Action
Images are vital as a promotion tool and can be posted on social media, shared with ambassadors, and offered to your donors after they make a donation. I recommend Canva, Venngage, and Piktochart as easy-to-use and affordable tools to create images for social media.
8. Think Multichannel
Even though Giving Tuesday thrives on digital platforms, don’t neglect other communication channels at your disposal, such as your print newsletter, real-world events, the lobby of your organization, your local coffee shop, and your business affiliates. Get the word out!
9. Make It Fun
Giving Tuesday is still an evolving annual tradition, so it’s an invitation to have some fun. Consider ways you can spice up this annual tradition with a unique video, some crazy hashtags, a celebrity ambassador, and a memorable theme.
Bonus: Make Monthly Giving the Default
We’ve recently reached a tipping point where most nonprofits are promoting monthly giving as the default way of giving. Monthly giving offers a more comfortable donation amount that can be broken up into small chunks ($10 per month versus a one-time donation of $120). Giving monthly is popular with people who are recent donors, frequent givers, and multichannel donors (such as those who have already made a gift in the mail).
Consider all the ways you can promote monthly giving during Giving Tuesday. Although monthly giving will reduce revenue in the short term, monthly donors will stay on your list longer, and have higher lifetime value as a donor.