Do You Need To Send Donors Monthly Receipts?
A fundraiser asked me this question: “Do you need to send monthly receipts to monthly donors?”
My answer is: Ideally, no. There is no need to send monthly receipts to monthly donors.
The ideal situation is that you send some other updates to them instead. That way it’s much less about the transaction and the value of the gift, but much more about how the monthly donor’s gifts are making a difference.
I recommend sending one very clear thank-you letter by mail (even if you receive the donation online) to a new monthly donor when they join, indicating that they’re not going to receive monthly receipts (by mail).
Do create a special segment in your donor base and tag, group or whatever your email program calls it.
Do promise them updates.
Don’t specify how many or how often they’ll receive those updates, so you’re totally flexible in what you can do.
Do suppress monthly online receipts if you can. If your system forces you to send it, not much you can do about it. Do customize them a bit and change them up if you can do so on a regular basis.
Do promise them a tax letter in January with an overview of all their gifts so they don’t have to worry about keeping track of it all, because you’ll do that for them.
Go ahead, dig into your archives. Look at your stories. Look at client notes. Look at the feel-good stuff. Use it to show your gratitude to your donors.
Check what your colleagues may be sending out and see what you can use as updates to your monthly donors. They permeate throughout all levels and types of donors so keep the bigger picture in mind.
Then every time you send an email, create a version for your donors/constituents and a special version for your monthly donors. Say thank-you for the monthly gifts, then go into the rest of the email. It really can be as simple as one or two additional lines of copy.
Do include your monthly donors in some email and direct mail appeals to ask for an extra gift. It’s another way to engage them. Do include that special recognition though!
Keep it simple. Keep it something you can keep doing without a lot of heavy lifting and without having to spend a lot of time. A little bit can go a very long way to keeping your monthly donors happy without sending receipts.
Erica Waasdorp is one of the leading experts on monthly giving. She is author of the book "Monthly Giving. The Sleeping Giant." 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 just co-authored the "Monthly Giving Starter and Marketing Kit" with Donor Perfect, and she’s working on her next book called "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 cat, Mientje.