Monthly Giving: Think Long Term With a Little Short-Term Work!
A received a very excited call from a client: “We got several monthly donors from the tick box on the special appeal! But how do I now report this? Our finance folks want to attribute this for the calendar year only. Help?”
I congratulated her and then advised her that even though there’s no end date to these monthly gifts, she could simply take the number of monthly donors, their monthly gifts and then multiply that by the remaining number of months this calendar year. This would provide the total expected revenue.
While she was excited, she was much more concerned about the “short-term” reporting than the long-term effect and the commitment these donors had made.
The truth is that I hear this so often.
“Yes, we want to generate new monthly donors, but we also have to bring in so much in revenue today.”
“We don’t have time to focus on monthly giving right now, because I’m so busy with my events.”
”I have to write this community grant. It’s not going to generate a lot of money, but it’s something!”
This reminds me of the recent Seth Godin quote: “ I hope we can all agree that the long run is made up of a bunch of short runs. That seems obvious. The surprising thing is that we live our short runs as if that isn’t true.”
In other words: If you change your mindset to focus on monthly giving, you’ll get to your goals a lot sooner than waiting to get started.
So here are two things you can do right away that can have a big impact sooner than later:
- Add a tick box to your appeal reply form to have donors say, “Yes, I’ll make this a monthly gift.”
- Including the monthly giving ask in a “P.S.” in your email.
Minimal to no negative impact on your short-term results, high-positive impact on your long-term revenue and retention—are you ready to start running?
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.