When Is the Best Time to Ask for a Monthly Gift?
When fundraisers ask me this, the answer is: no better time like the present! And, you should be asking all the time! The more you ask, the more monthly donors you’ll generate.
Here are just a few things one organization does that really has helped them grow their program. (They already have some 30 percent of their donors give monthly.)
• Every September, they take over the homepage with a direct link to their monthly donation page.
• They send a special appeal, with a match offer, followed by a series of emails.
• Every online donation form has the monthly option included, and they alternate the form, sometimes offering the monthly option first and single gift second, depending upon the email sent.
• They incorporate a monthly ask in their welcome email series.
• They send a special welcome package within a month after their first gift.
• Every direct mail appeal donation form has the monthly option front and center, equal proportion. You can’t miss it!
Every organization should be able to do this without great expense.
One word of caution on the appeal donation forms: this works very well, but, if your organization only mails two to four appeals a year, I recommend you test this first. It could have a negative impact on your single gifts. While this is typically made up by the number of monthly donations you generate, it’s important that your boss and board realize it’s about the long term. The organization above realizes this and is committed to generating as many monthly donors as possible as they see the tremendous long-term value!
But if your organization is not quite on that mindset, I recommend you start slowly by adding a special appeal instead and add the “make this a monthly gift” tick box on your appeals and see what happens.
Every single thing you do more than what you’re doing now will help you generate more monthly donors.
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.