Monthly Donor Motivation: Getting Your Donors to Get Up and Dance
I just came back from a conference in New Orleans. It was my first time visiting, so I had planned a little bit of time to see the sights and “soak up the culture.” It inspired me to write about monthly donor motivation.
But before I get to that… if you’ve not yet been to New Orleans, I can highly recommend The National WWII Museum. It’s fabulous! Locals told me that Frenchmen Street is the new Bourbon Street, and Café Du Monde is definitely worth a stop.
We also had time to check out the Cajun Zydeco Dance and Music Festival. I have danced to Zydeco music before, but my husband had not, so I wanted to share it with him. It was hot (close to 100 degrees), but several couples were dancing the two-step and enjoying the music. It has that French/Spanish flair to it, and the music sure gets you moving! Those not dancing were enjoying some art and wonderful food. It was that great melting pot of culture New Orleans is probably best known for.
Whenever I visit a new city, it never ceases to amaze me that every city has some common themes and needs. Sadly, homelessness is a recurring problem, and it’s growing!
And people are people, but you may need to approach your donors in a different way depending upon the culture or the area your donors live in.
That’s why I also love hearing from the “local fundraisers” about the most common themes donors are motivated to give to. What causes them to give most? Is it the fact that they’re invited to an event with food and drinks? Is it the fact that it’s hot outside, so you need to plan your event or activity around it, and it needs to be easy to get to with plenty of parking?
But it’s even more important to look at cost of living. One indicator is the cost for a gallon of gas. In New Orleans, we paid $2.09. On Cape Cod, we’re looking at $2.72. In other parts of the country, you’re looking at $3.15! Understanding those differences will help you establish the best ask amounts for your area.
It’s also helpful to look at certain amounts that may be more meaningful than others. For example, if it costs you $6 for two-hour parking, perhaps that’s a doable amount to test. If it takes $3 to ride the streetcar for the day, then that may be a good amount to test, especially for monthly gifts. “For the cost of a streetcar ticket or for the cost of two hours of parking, you can help X.”
There’s literally no end to the opportunities you can offer your donors to make a difference—no matter where, no matter which culture they live in or live close to.
Find out those amounts that are most meaningful in your area. Find out what makes your donors tick. Find out what it takes to make your monthly donors get up and dance.
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.