Is the Interest in Recurring Giving Really Growing?
Nonprofit PRO just published its “2021 Nonprofit Leadership Impact Study” and while I like what I’m reading there, it’s still not quite where I’d like it to be. Or should I say, where it really ought to be to make and keep nonprofits sustainable.
One of the conclusions from the report is: Nonprofits need to improve relational fundraising and work toward recurring giving and monthly programs. The study shows:
- 41% of nonprofits believe their biggest challenge is acquiring donors.
- 10% of nonprofits believe that their biggest challenge is retaining donors!
- Only 21% of nonprofits believe that monthly giving/memberships is their top revenue-producing fundraising strategy.
- Only 29% of nonprofits are engaging donors through monthly giving recruitment efforts.
- Only 16% of nonprofits are prioritizing an increase in recurring gifts in 2021.
Some of the results of the study are very surprising and, frankly, disappointing.
Why focus on acquiring new donors if you don’t have any plans in place to keep them?
Talking about leaky buckets! It’s often as simple as going back to basics and not assuming. Especially with a shift of donors going online, this does not mean that you should stop sending thank you letters or special thank you notes through the mail. How can you stand out? How can you show you appreciate your donors?
Let’s look at this chart:
Why are only 16% of nonprofits prioritizing an increase in recurring gifts and 15% an increase in monthly gifts? That’s still only one third of the organizations.
Is it the short-term revenue versus long-term revenue discussion that appears to happen so much still in so many organizations of all sizes? Even those nonprofits that have considerable monthly giving programs are hedging the decision to focus more on growing their monthly donor programs.
I get it. You are busy. But right now, it’s especially crucial to try to convert every single lead and new donor you brought in last year and bring in this year to give more, sooner, more often and ongoing.
You will never know how you can grow if you don’t try. Most of you will have the tools, the donor journeys, the automations. All it takes is a little bit of time and effort.
But nothing will happen if you don’t prioritize it. And from everything I’ve seen over the almost 30 years in monthly giving: A little priority will go a long way and will pay off so that your nonprofit can keep going and can continue to make a difference.
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.