A Monthly Giving How-To: Let’s Declare September = Sustainer Month
A few years ago, I had the pleasure of presenting about sustainers with Tina Hudgins, who worked at the International Justice Mission at the time. She shared how the organization typically did a monthly donor direct mail and email invite campaign (including upgrades) in the month of September. And they’ve been doing this ever since. What a great idea!
September is early enough in the giving season that it doesn’t detract from activities like virtual galas, Halloween, #GivingTuesday or year-end giving. It’s also early enough so that you can recognize your new monthly donors with a year-end appeal and get an extra gift. And you can include your new monthly donors in a special Thanksgiving, holiday or Christmas card, as personalized as possible.
Finally, and this is important because I know how busy you are as a fundraiser, most of the planning can take place in the summer when it’s typically a bit quieter.
As you know, there really is no bad time to ask for monthly gifts, but as you could read in a recent blog, you might wish to pull back a bit in those past two to three months to optimize one-time gifts and then go back full blown monthly in January.
So with the number of special days popping up on the calendar, I’d like to declare September = Sustainer Month. Let’s take over the homepage. Let’s have every email ask for monthly gifts. Let’s send out a special invitation, followed up by a phone call.
And if you still need convincing or if you’d like to know how to grow your monthly giving program, there are a number of training opportunities, supported or organized by yours truly. All have slightly different angles or approaches and speakers, so all very exciting.
And the investment is minimal. Even if you add up all the fees, it still costs you less than one monthly donor to pay for it.
Here’s a quick list of what to look for:
- "Sourcing Sustaining Supporters" on September 23
- "Virtual Sustainer Workshop" on September 29 and 30
Will you join me at one of these events and help me declare September = Sustainer month? Because the reality is: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now!”
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.