It’s OK If Monthly Donors Start With Low Gift Amounts
One time, on a movie set, Chris Davenport, president of 501 Videos and founder of the Nonprofit Storytelling Conference, noticed a nickel on the floor in a hallway that had a lot of foot traffic. Every other person probably looked at it but decided to walk by, Davenport shared earlier this month during his event's opening session. Then Sean Connery came in, saw the nickel, picked it up and put it in his pocket
Now, you’d expect the James Bond actor would be the last person to do this. But, as you may know, he is Scottish, and Scots are known for being frugal. Connery knew the value of a nickel. And in those days, a nickel was worth a lot more money than today.
Well, I equate this nickel story, with the mindset that tends to be sadly ingrained in so many when it comes to monthly giving: Why would I pick up a nickel, if I can hold out and get a dollar or perhaps even $10?
What many fundraisers, and especially those who often have their own opinions, like board members and development committee volunteers, don’t realize is that a relationship can start with a nickel but lead to so much more.
Some donors may only be able to give a nickel per day right now, especially if they’re younger.
But if you are patient — and thank them, steward them and engage them — you’ll be able to ask them for extra gifts, special projects and upgrade them to higher levels.
It may start with a nickel, then goes to a dime, to a quarter, to a dollar a day as the donor matures and has more money to give.
Though Giving USA’s “Giving by Generation” report found that more people prefer giving occasionally over monthly, a lot of people expressed interest in giving monthly, particularly those in younger generations. For baby boomers, 18% are very or somewhat likely to give monthly. About 35% and 58% of Generation X and millennials, respectively, agree. When it comes to Generation Zers, they prefer monthly over occasional giving, with 62% indicating they were very or somewhat likely to give monthly.
What would 18% of your donor base giving monthly look like in value? What will 35% of your donor base giving monthly look like in value? (Hint: The average monthly gift is $25 a month, $300 a year, according to M+R).
Just look at this chart from Qgiv’s “Sustainable Giving Report.” Almost 7% of nonprofits do not even support recurring giving. Yikes! And yet, every single payment processor and donor database offers it!
The initial investment is virtually nothing. You can ask for monthly gifts via email, mail, phone and text at little to no cost because you’re already using those channels for other efforts.
Let’s face it, monthly giving is a smart decision.
Just look at what some of the nonprofits you admire have done. They looked at their donor database and saw they had many more small donors than large ones. And they realized they were raising funds like hamsters in a wheel, without a long-term view.
They changed their mindset.
They saw the multiplication factor of monthly donors. They chose to be like Connery and pick up that nickel. They generated thousands, if not millions of dollars, in ongoing sustainable revenue because of it.
So, my question to you is: Will you change your mindset and pick up that nickel? Or will you stand idly by when a Connery lookalike comes by and picks it up? You choose!
The preceding blog was provided by an individual unaffiliated with NonProfit PRO. The views expressed within do not directly reflect the thoughts or opinions of NonProfit PRO.
Related story: Why Nonprofits Should Seek Out Younger Donors
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.