With Monthly Giving, Always Think Long Term
April 25, 2006
By Erica Waasdorp
Monthly giving typically occurs in one of the following ways:
1) Through the donor's bank account (Electronic Funds Transfer or EFT) automatically and long-term. The donor needs to take action to cancel it.
2) Through the donor's credit card account. This is automatic, but renewal when the credit card expires is advisable. This is the ideal moment to upgrade and usually garners higher average gifts.
3) Through regular statements sent to the donor. This is the least advisable, and most responsive. Often a starting point for conversion to type 1 or 2 above.
I work with clients who usually offer all three options and recommend the following cost-effective ways to acquire monthly givers (in order of priority in terms of experienced results for some of my clients).
*On the web as a pull-down menu variation.
*As part of the welcome pack to new donors.
*As part of the thank-you pack to existing donors.
*As an insert (variation) in a donor mailing.
*As part of a telemarketing campaign, aimed at multiple donors.
*As a separate mailing.
A donor-appeal variation focused on a targeted group of donors who have given more than one donation works well. Do expect the number of single donations for that group to be lower, but that is more than offset by the number of new monthly givers acquired.
Only consider a separate mailing if the mail schedule of donor appeals can accommodate it. Instead, consider telemarketing first. It is one of the most responsive ways to acquire new sustainers, and it generates single donations as well.
One thing is certain: Trying to convert single donors to monthly givers is a long-term process. Don't think it can be done in a single swoop. It takes a consistent investment, ideally through multiple media. And, once a monthly giving program is in place, it keeps on growing with little investment in the existing sustainers.