10 Things I Learned From 30 Years in Sustainer Giving, Part 3
I hope you’re enjoying this list of things to focus on when it comes to sustainer giving. So far, I’ve shared four things I’ve learned. Some I had to learn the hard way but certainly they can benefit any and all fundraisers. Here are lessons five and six.
5. Challenges Are Opportunities
A prime example of a challenge would be the Mastercard regulations that were set to be enforced by March 21, 2023. Now, fortunately, nonprofits are exempt from this, so unless you have a huge number of chargebacks from confused donors, they’re no longer requirements.
Some suggestions, however, are good ideas and may be a bit more donor-friendly than originally thought. This Mastercard challenge created a great opportunity for organizations to evaluate what they were telling their donors. How is your organization confirming sustainer gifts and how transparent is your organization with providing contact information for a donor who wanted to make a change to their gift?
This also pushed more nonprofits to look at offering electronic bank transfer a bit more than before.
Challenges can certainly open windows and doors to new opportunities, as long as you’re willing to take a fresh look at what you thought was all buttoned up. Change is constant, especially in the payment industry, and I foresee more and more still happening.
I doubt we’ll have to worry too soon about what New Zealand and the Netherlands are going through with checks going away, but you never know. (Hint: Having to move away from checks provides great opportunities for recurring gifts.)
6. Add Just One More Thing
I’d like to share three examples of how to add one more thing.
First, add a button to your emails or your e-news with a link to your monthly donor page and see what happens. The power of the button can be huge!
The second example is focused on retention. If you send an email only, how about adding a letter? How about adding a phone call? Add one more thing and you’ll do better than before. You’ll be guaranteed to keep more sustainers than before.
Finally, if you want to make sure that it’s really clear that a sustainer updates their information, instead of sending them to the general page, create a special update page. That way you can customize the messaging to fit an updater rather than a brand-new sustainer. And you can link to that page in all your retention outreach. I’ve seen just adding a direct link in an email or a text message increase retention by 50% of a sustainer group at risk of lapsing.
Can you add just one more button, one more page?
Editor's Note: This is the third part of a five-part series, 10 Things I Learned From 30 Years in Sustainer Giving. Each part contains two lessons.
10 Things I Learned From 30 Years in Sustainer Giving
Part 1: Details Can Make and Break Your Program and No Room for Silos
Part 2: Operations Is Your Friend and Curiosity Is a Virtue
Part 3: Challenges Are Opportunities and Add Just One More Thing
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.