Does Your Nonprofit’s Anniversary Count as Special?
One of my copywriter friends asked me this question: "My client’s organization is having a milestone anniversary. How can I use a sustainer program to leverage donations?"
Recently I discussed the use of special days to promote recurring gifts or for stewardship. However, typically, anniversaries are not really donor-focused. The donor doesn’t really care too much about which day or year your nonprofit was founded. But the longer you’ve been in existence, it helps prove that you’re legitimate and that you probably know what you’re doing. It may help build more trust from a donor.
But what the donor cares about more is how you’ve made an impact for the animals, people, clients, patients, etc., you serve and how you’re planning to make an even bigger impact in the future.
You can use an anniversary as a special day, even a whole special year as long as you don’t make it about you, the organization, but make it about you, the donor.
How you, the donor, can solve a problem and in the case of recurring gifts, can solve a problem for quite a while and in a way that fits the donor’s budget.
Here’s why this works. I highly recommend you download this ebook on asking. It describes the key ingredients of a strong offer:
- A human-sized problem
- A solution that’s easily understood
- A price point that seems like a good deal
- A sense of urgency to act today
You can describe the problem and the solution with a price point that seems like a good deal. With this in mind, use the anniversary to your advantage in any of these ways..
The donation amount. If you’re celebrating your 35th anniversary, a recurring donor can make a difference for $3.50 a month, $7 a month, $17.50 a month, $35 a month, etc. Or, if you’re able to be very specific: $10.35 a month.
The number of donors. You can use the anniversary to quantify the number of new monthly donors you’re looking for, like we’re looking for 35 new monthly donors. It will bring in the urgency. If you’re able to join today, we can do this tomorrow.
The match amount. You can use it to tie it to a special match amount. For example, if we reach the 35 new recurring donor goal, a generous donor will give an additional $3,500 or perhaps even $35,000.
The campaign length. Again, link to the urgency as you want to have a specific deadline for that goal. You could even consider running the campaign for 35 days.
To give you a real live case study: Last year, an environmental organization celebrated its 35th anniversary. It created a summer sustainer campaign with a goal of adding 35 sustainers with a $3,500 match. And guess what? The organization generated those 35 recurring donors and even a few more.
While the goal accomplishment will ultimately benefit your nonprofit, it will make a bigger splash to whom you serve. That’s what counts most to the donor.
So yes, go ahead and use your nonprofit’s anniversary as a special day, period or campaign, but always keep the donor in mind.
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.