Recurring (Gifts) Dream
So, how about direct mail? Well, it is still a great way to raise funds and generate monthly donors. You've heard it before: The sooner you can get the second gift, the better. And life gets even better if that second gift becomes a monthly gift! So, take a good look at your organization's welcome letter and see how you can integrate a monthly giving option. Be up-front about it, and put it right out there. Do not be afraid. Don't just hide it on the back of the reply form somewhere.
If your organization already has a welcome letter with an ask, it makes sense to solicit a monthly gift. Make sure the donor commits and signs the form, especially if it is through EFT or credit card — your organization needs that record of the initial commitment. As a side note, for upgrades afterward, there is typically no new commitment form needed.
As every organization is different, there is no golden rule for the best ask strategy, but the more specific you are about how the monthly gift contributes to supporting the mission and making a difference (for example, to a child, animal, disease, etc.), the better. Donors want to help, and if they can understand how the monthly giving program is beneficial to the organization, it's easier and makes even more sense to join!
However, do not be too greedy and ask for too much too soon. If a new donor gives your organization $12 initially, he or she may be willing to give $5 a month. That may sound like a little, but it is still $60 a year, which is probably twice the value of a typical donor annually. It is key to bring in as many new monthly donors as possible — they can always be upgraded later.
Erica Waasdorp is one of the leading experts on monthly giving. She is author of the book "Monthly Giving. The Sleeping Giant." She is the president of A Direct Solution, a company serving nonprofit organizations with fundraising and direct marketing needs, with a focus on monthly giving and appeals.
She just co-authored the "Monthly Giving Starter and Marketing Kit" with Donor Perfect, and she’s working on her next book called "Monthly Giving Made Easy." She regularly blogs and presents on fundraising, appeals and monthly giving—in person and through webinars. She is happy to answer any questions you may have about this great way of improving retention rates for your donors.
Erica has over 30 years of experience in nonprofits and direct response. She helped the nonprofits she works with raise millions of dollars through monthly giving programs. She is also very actively supports organizations with annual fund planning and execution, ranging from copywriting, creative, lists, print and mail execution.
When she’s not working or writing, Erica can be found on the golf course (she’s a straight shooter) or quietly reading a book. And if there’s an event with a live band, she and her husband, Patrick, can be found on the dance floor. She also loves watching British drama on PBS. Erica and Patrick have two step sons and cat, Mientje.
You can reach Erica at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (508) 776-1224.