Can Recurring Giving Really Be That Simple?
Last month, I saw the greatest T-shirt, that said: Hold on. Let me overthink this.
We fundraisers tend to overthink things. I’m not totally sure why, but fact is that we do. Maybe because we think that if it sounds too simple, it just can’t be true.
That’s why I wanted to share a few different angles on how this year, you may wish to adopt a new year’s resolution for simpler approach.
1. Occam's Razor
Let’s start with Occam's razor (also known as Ockham's razor, Ocham's razor and the principle of parsimony), which is the problem-solving principle that "entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity" — paraphrased as "the simplest explanation is usually the best one."
2. Seth Godin
Seth Godin gives two choices for anyone with a new idea:
- “It’s simple.”
- “It’s complicated.”
When you talk to someone about your new idea, they’re going to realize right away that it’s one or the other.
“Darwin’s insight about how the world evolved is simple once you understand it, but it represents such a conceptual leap that bringing it to someone who’s looking for a simple and easy explanation is sure to fail.
“If you invite someone along for a journey…, you earn the right to take your time and tell your story. “
3. Jeff Brooks
Jeff Brooks posted this chart on his blog. Even with a typo in the word retention, you clearly see the word simplicity in the center of this road map to successful fundraising.
There you have it, three examples of why you shouldn’t be overthinking fundraising. Three examples of why you should not overthink recurring giving. Three examples of why it’s important to make giving simple and easy to understand for donors.
Bring your donors and your boss, board and colleagues to the next level with a simple approach. You’re already doing an amazing job convincing donors to make a one-time gift and you’ve figured out how many times to repeat the message. (If the number of emails on Dec. 31 were any indication, you can repeat those messages a lot.)
Why not do the same with recurring giving?
Keep things simple. Stop worrying about the next new shiny thing. Instead, talk to your donors, tell your stories, give examples of how donors can help you and offer them the easiest and simplest ways to support you: by making a one-time or recurring gift of their choice. Donors first choose to give and second choose to give the amount that fits them best.
With daily living being so complicated, don’t we all deserve a simpler life?
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.