4 Essentials to Cracking the Monthly Giving Code
Soon, we’ll celebrate the D-Day invasion, which happened 75 years ago. Next year, we’ll celebrate the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II.
My mom and dad grew up in the Hague, Netherlands, and they were only 4 years old and 6 years old when Rotterdam was bombed and the war became real. My parents suffered through the Hunger Winter 1944/1945, when the Eastern part of the country was liberated after the major battle in Arnhem, but the Western part was not.
I remember my dad and mom telling about the Americans and Canadians flying over early May of 1945 and threw white bread from the sky. It was the first time they’d eaten something substantial in a very long time.
Needless to say, WWII has a very special meaning to me. Growing up, we’d watch the annual remembrance wreath laying on May 4. We’d watch movies about how men and women risked their lives to get messages and people to safer places through the underground and resistance system. Communication via codes was essential.
So, when I heard recently about the book “Code Girls,” by Liza Mundy, I had to read it. It’s a fascinating story about thousands of women who worked for the U.S. government, helping to break enemy coded messages and create codes for communication from and to all over the world.
This was all before computers, mind you!
Most women had a unique combination of language skills, math skills, a keen interest in solving puzzles and problems. What they were doing all day, every day for years on end was cryptanalysis.
These code girls helped Americans stay ahead of the enemy and win the war!
At one point, the book talks about the four things thought to be essential for cryptanalytic success: perseverance, careful methods of analysis, intuition and luck.
It immediately made me think about the four essentials needed for someone who is interested in managing monthly giving. Someone who really wants to crack the “monthly giving code.”
I know most fundraisers first want to think about creative, but the reality is that monthly giving especially is much more about systems, analysis, being proactive and collaboration. It’s about being willing to solve problems and create opportunities.
Monthly giving is not always easy. Most of it is learning on the job. It’s about the willingness to hunker down, look at the results and try to make things better. New ways to track monthly gifts and new payment systems pop up a lot lately, and there’s a lot to keep track of, especially your donors and how best to keep and steward them.
But if you’re really passionate about your program; if you’re really interested in looking at it with perseverance and an analytical mind; if you’re able to use your intuition, you’ll have a lot more luck in really cracking the code for monthly giving success.
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.