3 Tips for Creating Monthly Donor Promises
One of the first things I recommend when you’re starting to work on growing your monthly donor program is to create the “promises” you’ll make to the monthly donors when they join.
What will you send them? How are you planning to recognize them?
So let’s begin with the end in mind. Think through the thank you opportunities then decide what you’ll tell them and what you’ll keep as a pleasant surprise. And by all means, make sure that you can actually deliver on these opportunities.
I advise you to keep your promises limited to what is affordable and doable within your organization. Most monthly donors do not need a premium to join, so there’s no need to spend a lot of time coming up with something. You’re making it easy for the donor to make an impact, so keep it simple for yourself. The easier it is to manage the program within your organization, the more likely you’ll be able to grow it.
Here are my top 3 suggestions:
1. Of course, you’ll create a special “thank you” email and your online system probably spits out a nice auto-responder message. Make it as warm and fuzzy as possible.
2. Send a hard copy “thank you” letter. Add a quote or a story, the monthly donation amount they committed to and all the pertinent contact information the new monthly donor needs. Do include a contact person, a phone number and a special monthly donor program email address.
Because the donors love your organization so much, they just committed to making a monthly donation. They will have questions at some point, so make it easy for them to find you. A hard copy “thank you” letter is something they can hold onto.
3. Look at what you are already doing and how you can fold in these monthly donors and make them feel special at the same time. For example, if you’re a local organization and you have this wonderful event you organize every year, you can tell your monthly donors you’ll invite them.
If you have a newsletter in place, you may include new monthly donors. You can list them on your website on a special page, or you can create a special plaque at your building’s entrance.
Whatever you do, keep it manageable and affordable for yourself. And make sure that the donor is okay with you recognizing them in the ways you promise them you will. Once you create these promises, you can start listing it whenever and wherever you promote the program.
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.