Is an Auto-Responder Message Enough Recognition for a New Monthly Donor?
What’s the monthly donor experience when he or she fills in the online donation form and clicks the button to submit? In virtually all online donation platforms, it’s a two-step process.
The minute the donor hits submit, he or she gets an auto-responder message, confirming that wonderful monthly gift.
Then, secondly, an email is sent to the monthly donor confirming that gift again. In many online donation platforms, you can create those auto-responders and email thank yous yourself. You can make them as warm and fuzzy as possible.
You can include a short story of how the donor’s monthly gift makes a difference. You can include your contact information, phone and email, so the donor knows the person to contact with questions.
Unfortunately, that’s not always the case! In many popular systems, the auto-responder and email confirmation look very much like a receipt. It has the amount, today’s date and perhaps the processing date on it and, if you’re lucky, it indicates a one-time or recurring gift.
Not very warm and fuzzy at all, is it? I realize that you don’t want to change the system, especially if it’s working, you’re generating new monthly donations and it’s an easy process for the donor.
So, what is a fundraiser to do? Most times, when the donor makes the gift, an email gets sent to you or perhaps the person doing the data-entry in your organization (again, something you can set up when you create the donation page).
If your system spits out something that looks like a receipt, please take a minute to send out a special email message that makes the monthly donor really feel welcomed and appreciated.
And then, take just a few more minutes and send out a special hard copy thank you letter. Make sure that is warm and fuzzy as possible. Write a personal note. Yes, I realize it’s a stamp. Yes, I realize it’s time, but it’s something the donor will hold onto. It has all of the information the donor needs if they ever have a question about their monthly gift.
It is just another opportunity to say thank you and tell the donor how much the gift means to you. Monthly donors will stay with you for many years to come, so take just that extra little time to say ”thank you,” no matter how they joined and no matter what online donation system you’re using.
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.