How Can You Find a Good Name for Your Monthly Donor Program?
This is one of those recurring questions I get whenever I present on monthly giving, so it may be time to address it again.
Organizations often “agonize” about the name for a monthly giving program. Many are holding up the launch of it. Do yourself a favor: Don’t delay. You can always recognize donors later!
Before you start thinking about names (and possibly stalling the start of the program), consider this: On your online form, your messaging, email invitations and direct mail invitations, ask the donor to give monthly first. That’s key. Your donors want to support you.
The name isn’t going to persuade them to do it — and even the tchotchke typically doesn’t. You can, however, start recognizing the monthly donor as a [name of program] member in the thank-you messaging and then in the hard copy thank-you letter.
So, what’s the best way to come up with a name you can live with for many years?
Let’s organize a short brainstorm session with yourself by simply sitting down and writing down whatever names come to mind. No name too silly, no name too long or short. Just write (or better yet type it).
Then gather a few people together — for example a staffer, client, donor, volunteer (ideally no more than five) — and tell them: “We’d like to come up with a good name for our loyal monthly donors, a name we can live with for quite a while. Here are a few options I started with.” Then put them on a board, and ask people to add some more. Then ask everybody to vote for their top three.
Then choose one and move on. This should not take more than one hour. You have bigger fish to fry!
If you’re torn, you could consider sending an email to a few donors and ask them which one of the three names they like best and see what they say. Then choose one, and move on. You have bigger fish to fry: You have to start asking donors to give monthly!
Two names I tend to steer away from: legacy and society. They’re typically associated with wills, bequests and major donor groups.
Here are a few names I’ve come across over time, but feel free to add. There are many great ways to recognize your monthly donors. Many of the below can be used in combination with something that fits your mission:
- GEMs (Give Every Month)
- Partners (and then combinations like “Impact Partners”)
- The Spring
- Sustainer Circle
- Daisy Club
- Hope Builders
- One Cup at a time Club
- Children of…
- Compassionate Champions
- Partners in Hope
- Keepers of the Flame
- PAWs Partners in Animal Welfare
I’d love to hear from you if you have a special name and how you came up with it. How long did the process take you?
As I mentioned, if you’re really stuck, just START without a name and you can always recognize donors as part of a special group later. Don’t let the name (or benefits) deter you from getting started!
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.