A Monthly Giving How-To: Asking Will Result in More Monthly Donors
Good thing we have an extra day this week. I had a stack of mail more than a foot high, and I just finished scanning the various appeals I would like to save in a folder to use for training or learning.
Let me start with some good news: Many organizations have adopted the best practice of a tick box on the front of their appeal reply form, which is terrific.
You should know that I’ve tested this. And in my tests, the tick box did not typically negatively impact the one-time gifts. So if you’re not already offering this tick box, now’s a great time to test it. It’s all part of planting those monthly giving seedlings.
This is what a reply form with a tick box might look like.
Many nonprofits are only showing a small tick box on the back of the reply form, so it’s only visible to the donor if they complete their credit card information on the back of the form. It’s typically as simple as the below.
Some, however, have started to be a bit more specific about it, highlighting the monthly gift option and the name of the group. See below.
But wait, it’s getting better and better.
Others have gone one step further: They offer the monthly giver tick box on the front, and then add the credit card and EFT option on the back of the form. That’s awesome. You will not generate new EFT monthly donors unless you ask. (Of course, this presumes you’re able to manage EFT gifts.)
But that’s where it stops.
In this huge stack of mail from dozens of organizations, only one was daring enough to ask for a monthly gift very prominently on the reply form. See below.
Finally, only one organization, out of dozens of nonprofits who sent me mail in the past week or so, was daring enough to specifically include the monthly donor option in the letter and on the reply form both.
And it was an organization I had not yet heard from before. This was the first appeal I received from them. Reference to the monthly gift was only included in the letter twice, but it was clearly there.
With the number of appeals and emails you’re sending to your donors, could you just step up your monthly donor asks a little bit more?
You can be highly targeted by selecting just those donors who have given by credit card in the past year and make them an offer they can’t refuse. You can select just those donors who have given two or more times in the past year or even the past six months.
In this day and age with laser variations being part of most direct mail appeals, a test costs you virtually nothing, and you may end up with some new wonderful monthly donors because of it.
I’m grateful to be able to share these examples that dropped into my mailbox. Thank you for those organizations that are testing new things.
What are you planning to test as your next monthly donor variation?
Erica Waasdorp is one of the leading experts on monthly giving. She is author of the book "Monthly Giving. The Sleeping Giant." 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 just co-authored the "Monthly Giving Starter and Marketing Kit" with Donor Perfect, and she’s working on her next book called "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 cat, Mientje.
You can reach Erica at email@example.com or by phone at (508) 776-1224.