A Monthly Giving How-To: Update Your Monthly Receipt Emails
If you have a monthly giving program, chances are your processor sends a gift confirmation email every month. What happens when, what the receipt looks like and how much you can control depends on the system.
In some cases, the monthly email looks like a receipt. In other cases, you can customize it and add words to the payment information. Sometimes, it’s just a short blip, and it can even come as a text message.
In some systems, you can set it to send the first join email, and then suppress subsequent receipts. I recommend you send a warmer, fuzzier update email to your monthly donors instead. Which animal, client, child, patient was helped because of the monthly donor’s gift? A short story can go a long way.
However, if your system must spit out a standard receipt, there’s nothing you can do about it. You’ll just have to let it happen.
But in that case, I recommend you send a special warm/fuzzy update right before the receipt goes out. If you’re a very regular emailer, consider making that a standard practice and say thank you to your monthly donors in a special version at least once a month.
Continue to show the donor’s impact and continue to show your gratitude.
Finally, if your system generates monthly messages, and you can’t suppress them but you can customize them, please do take some time to update them. Way too many organizations send me stories that have been the same, month after month, year after year.
If you have the option to change it, please do! It will go a long way. If you don’t change it, it basically shows the donor you don’t really care. You want them to stay and keep giving monthly, right?
You don’t want to miss out on the wonderful opportunity to tell the donor how their monthly gifts are making a difference. You also don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to ask the donor to become engaged in another way.
This is not the time to ask for an additional gift, but it can be the time to ask your monthly donors to share a petition, to do a little quiz or to allow them to request more information about one of your special programs.
So, if you haven’t looked at your monthly receipt emails for a while, look now. I presume that you’re a monthly donor to your own program, so you’ll be the first to know. Sometimes systems make changes without telling us.
So, see what happens. See when your monthly donor receipt is generated, what it looks like and set a regular reminder to update your messages as often as you can. It’s a golden opportunity, and it will help you keep your monthly donors longer!
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.