1 Small Step Can Improve Your Monthly Donors’ Lifetime Value
Let me start off with wishing you and yours a happy and healthy new year! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season. I also hope you had some time to relax, in between working with donors and systems to try to optimize the donations coming in by the end of the year.
I took a few days to catch up on some movies we had missed and to reflect on what worked well and what didn’t work so well last year.
Rather than new resolutions, I resolved to continue what worked. That means continuing to blog, speak and advocate for monthly gifts. Continue to offer that help line you may need to help grow your program. Continue to eat healthy, keep going to my Barre classes and simplify where possible.
That’s why as we begin the new year together, I’d like to invite you to make a commitment to grow your number of monthly donors this year.
If you have fewer than 50, let’s try to get to the first 100. If you have fewer than 500, let’s get to the first 1,000. Just think of it as a way you can help your donors simplify their lives.
It’s not going to be easy, but the smallest step you make today can make a difference, for tomorrow, for the rest of this year and beyond.
So here are the first five little steps you can take in the month of January that will help you, but especially your donors this year (and it will absolutely improve your donor retention rates):
- Send out a thank-you letter for the donor’s gift right away. Yes, by mail please.
- Send a special thank-you email, making the donor the hero. None of what you’ve done last year was possible without the donor. If you’re comfortable, make it a thank-you video. Do include a button to donate on the bottom and see what happens.
- Make a thank-you call and try to connect with your donor early on. Find out why he or she made that gift (and could they do more?).
- Prepare your courtesy tax letter. Include the total amount of all gifts made in 2018, and send it out as soon as all your donations are in the database. Include monthly gifts, in-kind gifts, event gifts and any other gifts the donor may have made.
- Ask for a small monthly gift on your home page. No gift too small. You can simply incorporate the thank-you message (and/or video) right there and link to the monthly giving page.
Now’s the time to connect with your donors and make them feel special enough that they’re willing to give monthly or make yet another gift, especially if they gave to you for the very first time.
Every step you take today, will get you closer to your goal.
"That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." – Words said when Neil Armstrong first stepped onto the Moon (July, 20 1969).
While you’re probably not trying to get to the moon this year, raising more money for your mission may at times feel like it. I’m here to tell you that you’ll get there with just a few small steps forward. Key is taking that first step!
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.