6 Recommendations for Monthly Donor Prospects
Hint: They’re typically already in your donor base.
The best monthly donor prospects are donors who currently give you gifts of $100 or less. They are not your big check writers; if they did send you a $100 check, it was probably a stretch gift for them.
Instead, monthly donor prospects are donors who can make small gifts more often. They are often on a fixed income.
So, here’s what I recommend:
- If your donor base system has it, run a Recency, Frequency, Monetary report. Look at your most recent donors who made a gift of $10 or more, preferably multiple times. (This of course also depends on how often you appeal to them. If you only ask twice a year, a donor can only give twice.)
- If your donor base does not offer that report, make a selection of your donors who gave in the past two years. Sort them by last gift amount and last gift date and include the payment type if you can (check, credit card, cash, other). It’s a bonus if you have the number of gifts.
- Select donors who have already given to you by credit card. They will be more comfortable with monthly giving on credit card. It’s an easier “sell.”
- Select those donors who have made more than one gift in the past year ($100 or less).
- For email appeals, if you can segment out your top donors and send an email to all others, that will be most successful. If you can’t segment yet, by all means, offer monthly giving to everybody. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
- Offer monthly giving as a convenient way to give for your donors. You know your donors. You never want to downgrade your donors, which is why we typically use that $100 threshold. If you can convert a $50 donor to give $10 a month, you’ve just more than doubled their annual gift. If someone is able to write a $250 check, they are more likely to write a $500, $1,000 check or even higher. If someone is able to write a $50 or $100 check, they may be more comfortable giving $10 or $25 a month.
But no matter what size gift a donor gave in the past, if someone asks you whether or not he or she can start making a monthly gift, you should allow it. After all, it’s all about ease and convenience for the donor (while, of course, making it even easier, convenient and sustainable for your organization).
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.