Asking Monthly Donors for an Extra Gift — Is It ‘Creepy’?
As it’s almost Halloween, I thought I’d discuss the “creepy” topic of asking monthly donors for an extra gift this giving season.
Remember this post from a few months ago? I described the biggest reason why sustainers give monthly — it’s because they care about your mission.
So knowing that, why on earth would you NOT give your monthly donors the opportunity to make an extra gift? You’re doing them a favor by asking them to make an even bigger difference. They love you.
Of course, you have to do it right. What does that mean?
- Create a special segment code, so you can track results.
- Exclude those monthly donors who have clearly told you not to solicit them.
- Don’t ask your monthly donors for an extra gift based upon their total of cumulative gifts this year. That’s too high.
- Don’t ask them to give an extra gift based upon the amount of their monthly gift. That’s not high enough.
- If at all possible, see if you can go back to their most recent one-time gift.
- If that is not possible or if it becomes a very manual process, just use the “Other $__” or “Surprise me $__” ask on the reply form.
- If the quantity allows, consider a personal handwritten note on the letter.
- If the quantity is larger, handwrite a personal note and print/laser it on the letter. The more personal the approach looks, the better off you are.
- ALWAYS say thank you for their monthly gifts. Let them know you know how special they are.
- If you want to warm up your monthly donors ahead of time, consider a phone call or leaving a message saying thank you!
- Choose wisely. If you’re sending a lot of appeals during the year, pick those you think will resonate best with your monthly donors or are extra special (like a calendar, a holiday card, supporter card or a match).
So with this in mind, do you still think that asking your existing monthly donors for an extra gift is “creepy?”
If you’re doing something special this year, I’d love to know. From the most recent sustainer workshop, many nonprofits with sustainer programs of all sizes are especially interested in cultivation. Sending additional appeals is part of that.
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.