Geared Up for Growth
The more you engage people, the more likely they are to become donors now or one day in the future. And if you have a teenager in your life, pay attention to what social-media outlets they abandon because “old people” are using it — that’s donors — and what ones they use the most because those “old people” will soon be migrating there.
AM: … There’s a strategy that’s been around for a very long time, that’s not new, but it just continues to evolve and continues to do better and better — and that’s the concept of sustained giving, monthly giving.
Dane, what are your thoughts on what people should be paying attention to, whether they’ve got a program or they’re thinking about launching a program?
Dane Grams: For those of you who know me, you know that I’m a big believer in monthly giving. I don’t know if that’s because I was schooled at Greenpeace and we always based our fundraising program on European models, or if I’ve just had enough experience to know that it works at this point. But I’d like to throw out there that not only is monthly giving important to the growth of an organization, I think in the future it’s going to be important to the survival of organizations. Why is that? Because monthly donors have a higher retention rate and a higher long-term value for the organization, and I’ve seen how monthly giving can impact overall budgets and growth.
At HRC, I started the monthly giving program, which we call “Partners,” in 1997. That first year we had about 2,000 monthly donors. Today the organization has 65,000 monthly donors, which represents more than $10 million in our gross income. It’s also our highest net income program. For us, that’s more than 10 percent of our overall donor file, and it represents 25 percent of our organization budget. The short-term investment that you put into a monthly giving program is absolutely worth the long-term net growth.