Crowdfunding Monthly Donors: Don't Get Them 'Lost in Space'
My husband introduced me to the series, “Lost in Space” many years ago. Growing up in Holland, I had never heard of it, but it’s a wonderful show. (This was before Star Trek, of course).
So, why am I bringing up this series? Because it’s what I think about monthly donors and crowdfunding.
Yes, there’s a place for it. It works for many groups and organizations. And there are many companies offering crowdfunding “services and support.”
Some have started offering the options for monthly donations using their crowdfunding platform. This is where I must ask you to think twice!
Or as Robot would say in “Lost in Space”: “Danger, Danger, Will Robinson!!”
In other words: Caution! I highly recommend that you direct any potential monthly donors to your own website and your own monthly donor page. That way, it integrates with your system. The donor receives your thank-you messages. You’ll be able to send a hard copy thank you letter right away, and you are in control of the processes affecting these monthly donors.
You’ll know if they drop out for some reason. You’ll know if their card expires or changes. You’ll be able to contact them to get their updated information, and if you have your account updater process set up, they will be part of that.
But, within the crowdfunding platform, you have absolutely no control on what happens with monthly donors. In fact, in some cases, you’re not even allowed to approach them yourself. Sometimes you don’t even get all of their information. And typically the credit card fees are much higher than in your own system.
And let’s think about this from the donor’s point of view. He or she doesn’t know there’s a crowdfunding company in the mix. They think they’re supporting you, the organization, directly with their monthly gift. They think you know that they give monthly.
So, what do you think happens when you approach them about giving monthly if they’ve already done this through the crowdfunding platform and you don’t know about that?
Doesn’t give the donor a warm/fuzzy feeling and it makes your organization look pretty bad, right?
So, unless you want your monthly donors to get “Lost in Space,” leave crowdfunding for one-time donations and use your own channels with a direct link to your own donation pages for monthly giving.
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.