A Monthly Giving How-To: Take Down the Silos
The last week of September = Sustainer month, I organized the first ever virtual Sustainer Workshop.
About 40 fundraisers from all over the country, and even some from Canada, participated in the two-day workshop, looking at all stages of life for a sustainer.
When I asked the question: ”What is your biggest challenge when it comes to monthly giving?” this word cloud shows it best:
You see that acquisition jumps out, but many other areas as well (retention and systems). Now that tick boxes are generating so many more monthly donors, it’s really crucial to make sure of one thing:
Take down the silos in your organization. Make monthly giving a focus for all.
If the fundraiser wants to add an extra button or a note in an email to generate new monthly donors, let’s make that happen — no matter who is in charge of the emails.
If the fundraiser wants to add a special monthly-only form or a toggled option with lower amounts for monthly gifts, let’s make that happen — no matter where the website is managed within your organization.
Monthly giving will and should permeate your nonprofit. Silos simply get in the way of really growing to the level you need to grow to.
Monthly donors will touch every program and every giving level. Some monthly donors are part of your mid-level group. Some will even be major donors. Many will leave you in their will.
Your stewardship, donor support, subsequent appeals, email versions, etc., will need to ensure adequate recognition.
Several nonprofits mentioned the word “concierge,” a word I first heard from Vicky Barrett-Putnam of the Sierra Club. Not everybody may be able to have a special person, but you certainly want to have the personal connection and information available for any new monthly donor to contact.
A concierge goes even further. It means having someone available to make monthly donors feel special. It’s been proven to prevent drop offs and, thus, increased retention.
Introducing extra recognition and personal attention and a concierge focused on all aspects of monthly giving takes an extra effort.
It means that every part of your organization needs to be on board with that monthly giving focus. It means that every person, every department head or leader, everybody in the departments below them, finance, fundraising, marketing, communications, major gifts, web, systems, IT, analytics, operations, agency, consultant.
No matter which channel, no matter which role they play inside your organization (or externally if outsourced), everybody’s goal must be on how best to grow monthly giving for your organization.
Your donors will notice. Your donors will stay longer and give more money to help you execute your great mission. All your hard work pays off even more if you can just let go of those silos… Perhaps now that so many of you are working off-site, silos can be busted, never to return ever again.
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.