Add a Monthly Gift Ask to Your Welcome Email Series
At a recent conference, I finally had a chance to meet some of the NextAfter folks in person. We talked about "The Nonprofit Recurring Giving Benchmark" study from NextAfter. It’s now a few years old, but I have a sneaky suspicion that the organization is working on something new and I can’t wait!
Its research on digital activities is tremendous. The reports are terrific. I highly recommend it.
In conjunction with American Philanthropic, NextAfter recently published "The New Donor Welcome Study." If you don’t have a new donor welcome email series yet, check your email provider and see how you can set up these automations. Then check out the new donor welcome timeline and other resources.
Here are a few highlights that are most relevant for recurring giving that I found in this report.
1. Many donors have both the willingness and capacity to give again within the first 90 days of their original donation.
But if you don’t ask, you’re not going to get that second gift. Hence the importance of welcoming them, engaging them and asking.
Can we finally bury that myth that you can’t ask too soon? This research proves it’s just a myth. To improve retention, you simply must get that second gift from your donor as soon as possible. Those organizations that do that are ahead of the curve.
2. The most shocking finding is the number of organizations that don’t communicate at all in the first 90 days.
About 18.5% of organizations sent nothing to the online donor and 45% sent nothing to the postal donor during the first 90 days. How can you expect your donors to engage, give again if you’re not communicating with them?
3. Only 17% of donation emails included an ask for a monthly gift.
That means 83% of donation appeals did not ask for a monthly gift at all. A lost opportunity. Try an extra button! Incorporate a monthly giving ask in your welcome email series. What do you have to lose?
Try to test things and see what works for your organization. Map out your new donor welcome series both in the mail and email, and incorporate a monthly giving option in email No. 2 or 3 to see what happens.
Of course, always remember that what works for some may not work for you, so it’s always important to test. And sometimes a test that doesn’t work will teach you something as well. The sooner you can get the donor to make that second gift — or better yet, that recurring gift — the longer you’ll keep them.
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.