1 Penny Could Make a Difference—The Start of Monthly Giving
A few weeks ago, I was reminded of this wonderful campaign done by the British Red Cross. It was the most successful campaign ever, raising £7.7 billion in today’s prices between 1939 and 1946—just before and during World War II, mind you!
It clearly demonstrates how many pennies make up a much, much bigger amount!
I don’t know exactly when the first monthly giving campaign launched in the U.S. (if you know, please tell me), but this was as close to a monthly donor campaign
While’s it’s basically a payroll deduction program, it’s the “One Penny a Week” message that is the most important part of this case study.
Even one penny could make a difference. Or what you see so often today, “Just $0.33 a day.” “Just $0.65 a day.” “Less than the price of a cup of coffee can help a child.” “Can help an animal.” “Can help [you fill in the blank].”
I hear of organizations, especially religious ones that every so often receive a few pennies or quarters in the mail. Sadly I know some organizations who really don’t appreciate it, while others do. “It’s more work than it’s worth. I have to cut off the thank-you letters at some level,” you often hear them say.
Well, just look at it this way: Especially older donors—many of whom may have been through the war—they still think that pennies are valuable coin, and they’re giving what they can to your organization.
I challenge you to take a look at those little donors and see how many times they’re sending you their pennies or quarters. I bet it’s probably quite often! So all in all, those many little gifts make up for much bigger ones. And then, if you treat them right and say thank you for even the smallest gift, you might get a much bigger surprise later on (that legacy).
Believe it or not, I still get excited about finding my lucky penny every so often. Don’t you?
Erica Waasdorp is one of the leading experts on monthly giving. 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 authored "Monthly Giving: The Sleeping Giant" and "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 a cat, Mientje.