How Many Monthly Donors Can You Expect?
That was one of the questions someone asked me after a recent webinar. That is the $64 million question, isn’t it?
The answer may surprise you, because it differs by organization size and organization’s motivation to grow its monthly donors.
For example, I was speaking with a group the other day, and they have less than 300 donors to work with. They set a goal of 13 new monthly donors, which for them will be worth about $5,000 a year. This means they will convert 4 percent of their donors to give monthly.
I spoke with another group a while back, and they only had a small list of volunteers. They set a goal of 25 new monthly donors, and they ended up generating 39 after one email appeal, so almost double their expectation. They’re worth almost $11,000 a year. For them, this was like 10 percent of their volunteer base, as they really did not have many donors yet.
I reviewed the program for another nonprofit that now has reached their first 100 monthly donors, generating almost $100,000 a year. Another group has 600 donors out of 4,000 donors who give monthly. That’s 15 percent, generating almost $200,000 a year. Other groups I work with have 20 percent of their donors give monthly, generating $4,500,000 a year.
In other words, there is no standard answer. It’s all over the map!
How many monthly donors you can expect varies based upon how many donors you have to start with and how often you ask.
I am a strong believer in setting a goal and writing it down because you know what they say about goals in writing? You’ll achieve them!
So, let’s change the question to be: how many monthly donors would you like to get?
For example, if you have 100 sustainers now, how about setting a goal of doubling that? Then look at how you got to the first 100 and see what you can do to reach that goal?
The reality is that in all of the above examples is that your monthly donors are always generating a steady stream of revenue you can rely on, which is more than you’d raise if you were only focused on one-time donations. If you read NonProfit PRO’s April feature on monthly donors, you’ll know that it’s typically three times more!
So, make up your mind to focus on monthly donors. Set your goal. Get busy asking! Stick to it for a year. Don’t get swayed or distracted. And see what happens. I guarantee you’ll have more than you started with!
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.