Monthly Donor Commitment: It Matters
Monthly donor commitment isn’t necessarily easy. It’s hard work. There are two different kinds of commitment in monthly giving: organization and donor.
- The organization must be committed to the program. It’s not a one-shot deal. It’s going to require ongoing focus and promotion to really grow your program. Once you start, you can only go up. I was talking to an organization last week. One year ago, they were raising $6,500 a year from monthly donors. Now, they’ve grown to $24,000 annually. They saw the power, and they continue to ask and add monthly donors whenever they can.
- The donor must commit. They need to realize that they’re making a promise to make a monthly gift. So what does that mean? While this seems counter-intuitive, it’s essential that the donor realizes they are making a commitment. It will help you with monthly donor retention in the long run. Make it very clear on your reply form.
Specify that the gift the donor commits to is monthly. For example: tick box—I’d like to help with a gift of $10 a month. And always require a signature for credit card monthly gift or automatic bank transfer. If the reply form comes back and it’s not signed, contact the donor and ask them if they wanted to do a monthly gift. If in doubt, assume it’s a one-time gift.
Of course, online forms are different as you don’t need that signature, so clearly mark the monthly after each amount. You want to ensure that donors know what they’re in for when they hit submit, the better off you are in the long run.
This is also the reason why I recommend sending a thank-you letter in the mail to a new monthly donor, no matter what the source—online, offline, face-to-face. That letter must confirm that the donor committed to a monthly gift, and it will have all relevant information to contact you if he or she has questions.
If you’re committed to the program and your donors are committed to making those monthly gifts, your program will prosper for many years to come.
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.