Seven Essentials to Starting a Monthly Giving Program, and More
April 25, 2006
By Abny Santicola, editor, FundRaising Success Advisor
In his session on monthly giving at the AFP International Conference in Atlanta earlier this month, Harvey McKinnon, CFRE, said monthly giving benefits organizations in a few ways.
*It increases your income;
*It builds better relationships with donors;
*Donors give to your organization longer; and
*It provides a predictable source of donations.
Seven essential components to a monthly giving program, according to McKinnon, are:
1) A donor base;
2) An appealing mission;
3) An ability to communicate your message;
4) An effective processing system;
5) An integrated marketing strategy;
6) A focus on thanking donors and addressing their concerns; and
7) Donor research and analysis.
McKinnon said you should ask potential monthly donors for a fixed amount that relates to their last gift or their cumulative annual giving. You also can tie a monthly amount to something specific, e.g., $31 a month will sponsor X number of meals for a child.
As incentive to get donors to sign on to your program, McKinnon advised that you give them the option to cancel the program at any time, rather than having them locked in for, say, a year.
He also suggested organizations give their monthly donor program a name. "Select a name that is appropriate to your cause," he said. For Canada's Sierra Legal Defence Fund, it's the Defenders Club; for the Global Fund for Women, it's the Corazon (which means "heart" in Spanish) Network.
McKinnon said a key to maintaining and growing your relationship with monthly donors is thanking them, but not too often. He advised thanking donors when they join the monthly program and then once a year thereafter. Sending a "thank you" every month might only irritate donors, he said.
Once your monthly donor program is in place, McKinnon suggested trying to raise even more money from these donors through upgrading, high-dollar clubs, tribute and memorial giving, planned gifts, selling products, and special events.