Monthly Giving: Making a Mountain Out of a Molehill
For the past few years, my husband and I have been escaping the cold and snow in Massachusetts for a week by visiting Arizona. We absolutely love it. Dry heat, desert, space and so many things to do! Time flies.
One of our favorite activities is hiking the mountains all around Phoenix. (If you’re familiar with the area, this time we saw White Tank Mountain and Lake Pleasant).
When you first look at these mountains, they seem huge. But once you start getting closer… the mountain becomes flatter and flatter. And once you start walking, they’re usually very easy to hike. The trails are well marked, and you just have to make sure to bring enough water with you and be on the lookout for some of the critters and rattle snakes you might encounter. And you might see an occasional horse and rider.
What do these mountains have to do with fundraising and monthly giving in particular? Well, I still encounter organizations that look at their monthly donor program, and all they see are huge mountains. They think starting a program is problematic. They think it will take a lot of time. They think it will take a lot of money and people. Nothing is further from the truth!
If you’d asked me five years ago, I’d say: You are correct. It’s not that easy.
But now? Monthly giving really has become a totally different ballgame! You have the tools. You have the online giving options that accommodate monthly gifts. You have email and social media to direct traffic there.
Today, monthly giving is literally just a matter of driving to the mountain, putting on your sturdy sneakers or hiking shoes and starting to walk the trail. One foot in front of the other. Easy, cheesy, capeezy.
And boy, once you get to the top of that mountain, the view is simply spectacular!
So, when it comes to monthly giving: Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill. You’re in charge. Get on the easy trail, and soon, you’ll be able to look back, see how you’ve been steadily climbing, one easy step at a time with your first monthly donors in tow. And then you’ll want to do it again, again and again. And don’t worry, we’ll provide you with the best trail maps to guide you along the way.
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.