Live From AFP: 7 Great Reasons to Add Monthly Giving to Your Fundraising
Donor retention, donor retention, donor retention. Fundraisers cannot seem to stop talking about it and for good reason. It's the lifeblood of fundraising and the key to building a base of loyal, longtime donors.
So why is that, according to the Fundraising Effective Survey Report, donor retention has seen seven straight years of decline in the sector?
"New-donor retention is down to 22.9 percent, and repeat-donor retention is down to 60.8 percent," said CFE Rosemary Oliver, fundraising director at Amnesty International Canada. "That means we are not keeping three out of every four donors we get to give that first gift."
So what can fundraisers do to improve these results? During their session at the Association of Fundraising Professionals 51st International Conference on Fundraising in San Antonio, "How to Hang on to Your Donors: Successful Donor-Retention Strategies," Oliver and Harvey McKinnon, president of Harvey McKinnon Associates, said the very best way to keep donors is to sign them up for monthly giving.
It starts with better cultivation and stewardship. That includes respecting your donors and making them feel valued.
"You hear in fundraising all the time, the numbers justify doing this or don't justify doing that," Oliver said. "They're donors, not numbers. These are people we want to build a relationship with, not just faceless numbers."
Monthly giving allows fundraisers to do that by taking some of the pressure off of the ask.
McKinnon shared seven more great reasons to focus on monthly giving to help increase donor retention.
Monthly giving increases your income
"Monthly donors give one to two times more money per year on average," McKinnon said. That's 100 percent to 200 percent more dollars for monthly donors, simply because they give 12 gifts a year.
Monthly giving helps build better relationships
"Most of our communication with donors goes like this: Can you give me money? Can you give me more money? And, oh, here's a follow-up — can you give me more money?" McKinnon said. But with monthly donors, that relationship changes because fundraisers don't always have to keep asking in every communication. Since monthly givers give those 12 gifts a year, it allows fundraisers to interact on a more personal level, providing more information and having more real discussions with donors since the focus doesn't always have to be on asking.