A Monthly Giving How-To: Organize and Clean Up
This past weekend, we had to replace a light bulb in our fan. Fortunately, I was able to find the warranty book in my warranty binder. That showed us we needed a special suction cup to get the light bulb out.
Well, the big question was: Where was the suction cup to do just that? I vaguely remembered I had put it in the kitchen drawer seven years ago when the fan was installed.
So, we emptied the two drawers. And guess what: The little suction cup was exactly where we had put it.
After we replaced the bulb, I took some time to organize the two drawers — because it had gotten out of control. Hundreds of pens, pencils, address labels, notepads, paperclips etc. You may know the type of drawer I’m talking about.
Well, you’re probably wondering how this relates to monthly donors. When it comes to monthly donors, every now and then, we, too, must organize our files and clean them up a bit.
People in charge may have changed, systems may have changed, and processes may have changed over time.
Monthly donors may still be considered active even though they might have stopped a while back.
Run a query or a report and see which monthly donors haven’t given in a while, and follow up with them. If you’ve not done so in a while, now’s a really good time to bring them back. Many people are still home, so your chances of catching them with a phone call or personal email are high.
Run a query or a report and make sure that all the flags, attributes or codes are exactly as you’d want them to be. If you’re selecting your monthly donors for special appeals or cultivation messaging based upon certain codes, it’s important they’re still valid and apply to active sustainers only.
Run a query or a report and see which sustainers could be eligible for an upgrade.
Look at your new sustainer thank-you letter and cultivation materials, and make sure they’re still valid. Perhaps they need updating.
I’d recommend doing this at least once a year, if not more often. Take some time right now, before it gets busy with the year-end giving season to clean up and organize. Your monthly donors, and thus your nonprofit, will benefit.
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.