Offer a Monthly Giving Save Option
While I was doing some research, I came across this interesting study. Brightback’s research is more aimed at the commercial subscription world, but a lot of what happens there can be applied to monthly giving for nonprofits.
What I find interesting is the shift to an online/digital model. Take note: Online consumers expect the experience to be convenient and relevant.
While I’m not a tremendous proponent of having online donor accounts, because they can be so cumbersome, especially if you have to remember a password, there are some advantages to the donor.
What happens next depends on how you as the organization gets notified of updates.
In this study of 1,088 consumers, the vast majority (60%) prefer to cancel online (versus calling or emailing, particularly amongst prized Millennials) while:
- An astounding 80% are more likely to purchase a new subscription that lets them cancel online
- 81% are more likely to refer a friend or colleague
What was most interesting when it pertains to monthly giving:
- 32% of cancelers have changed their mind when offered an incentive not to quit (e.g., discounts, flexibility to accept credit, pause or the ability to switch plans).
Hence, the “monthly giving save” option is very relevant here. That is offering the monthly donor the option to lower their monthly gift or to pause the monthly gift.
This approach has worked extremely well, especially early in the pandemic. And those organizations that used this approach were able to keep some 30% or so of their monthly donors. Very close to the percentage shown in the study!
I’ve only seen nonprofits use this save option when donors call in to cancel. But I’d recommend testing the save option as an option if donors email or use the online cancelation option.
Pausing can be a very powerful and enticing option to monthly donors. What do you have to lose by asking? At a minimum, if you get the email that they canceled online, send a follow-up survey and confirm if the donor wants to continue to hear from you.
If their circumstances change, they may very well be willing to come back.
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.