A Monthly Giving How-To: It Doesn’t Take Too Much Time
When I first started working in monthly giving 27 years ago, generating monthly gifts and processing their monthly payments was a long and time-intense process.
Now if a donor makes a monthly gift online, completes their information and clicks the button, the gift is processed in seconds, real-time. And the payment processor will continue to process that gift amount every month.
Acquiring new monthly donors doesn’t have to be a long drawn out process any longer.
A button in an email, a ‘P.S.” in an email, a special-focused email — you can send those emails out and see results on the same day. Once you have your monthly giving page set up, you can link to it in a heartbeat.
Who doesn’t have one hour a week to generate new monthly donors who each contribute an estimated $300 a year?
Similarly, following up on monthly donors whose payment didn’t come in doesn’t have to take a lot of time.
When I managed my first monthly giving program, we were still sending tapes and disks to banks (and every country and bank was different). Giving emails didn’t exist! Giving through online payment pages didn’t exist. Payment tapes had to be loaded first and only then were you able to generate reports. Only then could you see how many sustainers didn’t pay that month. Only then could you follow up. And mail and phone were the only two channels to do so.
Now if the monthly donor’s credit card is expiring, you’ll get a message ahead of time or, worst case, the day after the payment didn’t come in. You can take action right away. A quick text, an email, a phone call or a personalized letter can all be done in a day.
One hour a week, one call a day can make a huge difference. Who doesn’t have one hour a week or time to make one call a day if you can keep your monthly donors giving?
Here’s an amazingly simple trick I find works well: I call it the “Monthly Donor Value-at-Risk Annualizer™”
- Take the number of monthly donors you risk losing if you don’t take action.
- Take the average value of each monthly donor. Annualize it.
- Then calculate the number times the annualized value. That’s your total value at risk.
Let’s look at an example. Say you have 10 monthly donors at $25 a month or $300 a year whose payment didn’t come in this month. That’s $3,000 at risk.
Can you afford an hour a week, a call a day to keep those monthly donors valued at $3,000? I know what I’d say, what say you?
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.