A Monthly Giving How-To: Join Monthly Donor Programs
Whenever I talk about monthly giving to a group, in person or via webinar, I often ask people how many of them are monthly donors themselves. Sometimes just a few hands go up, or a few indicate it in the poll if it’s on a webinar.
Well, how can you ask someone to give monthly if you don’t know the feeling and the satisfaction it gives you as a donor if you’re not even giving monthly yourself? How can you find out what other organizations are doing?
If nothing else, I recommend you join your own organization’s monthly donor program. It doesn’t have to be with a huge amount — $5 or $10 a month goes a long way. And it’s a first step in showing that you are personally committed. And you’ll soon find that it gives you that extra boost of confidence and excitement to ask other people. Ask your volunteers. Ask your board members. Ask your donors. And ask often.
I also recommend that you join other monthly donor programs. I donate to over 40 programs of various sizes.
Pick an organization you admire, or pick an organization that’s active in your type of mission. Pick both. What is the organization doing? What is it sending? How often is it sending something? What does its emails look like? Is it special? How does it make you feel? What do you like, and what don’t you like? What would you want to try for your organization? Can you do this in your nonprofit?
You probably don’t have the same budgets. You may not be able to use the same channels or frequency, but there are some (I call them basic) things that every nonprofit should be able to do: a thank-you email and/or a thank-you letter. Then look at what you receive, and see if you can do it better.
Joining your own program helps you spread the enthusiasm. Joining other programs provides you with new ideas and confirms what you’re already doing right. I realize that it can add up, but it will teach you so much. So take a few minutes. Go online, and join your program and at least one other today. And invite others to do the same. Create a little resource library with examples.
The reality is that we all learn together. We all learn from each other. Don’t be afraid to share what you learn within your organization. I continue to learn from you, so that together we can help all nonprofits grow their monthly donor programs to a higher level.
Monthly giving potential is huge, and the impact on your sustainable revenue to be there — no matter what, no matter which pandemic or disaster — is even bigger!
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.