Monthly Giving Is Unrestricted Money
I’m in the process of writing an ebook on how monthly donors provide important unrestricted revenue nonprofits need to support their operating costs.
If you’re using terms like annual fund or annual appeals to identify your operating revenue, please realize that monthly gifts are typically part of this. Monthly donors support your annual fund. Monthly donors support your ongoing operating needs and your mission.
One of the questions fundraisers immediately ask is: “Does unrestricted mean you can’t use specific examples to invite donors to start giving monthly?”
The answer there is: If you’re using examples of how a donor can make a difference for your organization, you can absolutely make those unrestricted.
As a fundraiser, you help the donor set the price. Giving specific examples always helps!
But just because you give those examples doesn’t mean that the (monthly) gifts then must become restricted and limit you in what you can use the received funding for.
Just make it clear on the reply form or online giving/payment form. Adding a few words can un-restrict the gift and make sure you can decide where best to use the money raised. For example:
“Here is my gift to provide children with food for a month and to support all your other programs.”
By adding these few extra words, you’ve just unrestricted the revenue.
Most organizations have donors who can get excited about brick-and-mortar needs. They typically raise more money if they can be specific in the fundraising needs. But by adding those few extra words, the organization can use the funds for that specific purpose and for whatever else the money is needed most — to keep the lights on, to keep computers and database running, and to keep the staff who can then continue to serve the children, animals, clients, etc.
Donors want to make a difference. Examples are key to help them understand how much and where, but you’ll also want to make sure the operating costs are covered first. Monthly donors will help you do just that.
Erica Waasdorp is one of the leading experts on monthly giving. She is author of the book "Monthly Giving. The Sleeping Giant." 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 just co-authored the "Monthly Giving Starter and Marketing Kit" with Donor Perfect, and she’s working on her next book called "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 cat, Mientje.
You can reach Erica at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (508) 776-1224.