Plan Ahead to Get More Monthly Donors
My husband and I just came back from a trip to Las Vegas and Phoenix for some sunshine. We didn’t get as much as we’d hoped, which is unusual, but It was still nice to take some time off.
We flew on our favorite airline Southwest—free bags, points and no hassle. The only disadvantage is that from our (easy) airport Providence, RI, most flights are not non-stop. We typically have a stop in Baltimore or Chicago. It does add some travel time, that’s for sure, but we typically turn it into the opportunity to eat at our favorite airport diner.
Even with this stop, we usually get to our destination in reasonable time, but we are careful in our planning. (For example, in the winter, we usually try not to fly through Chicago!).
This made me think of monthly giving. I often talk with nonprofits that tell me they’re seeing a break in the growth of their program. When I “probe” a little on what could cause this, here are some of their answers:
“Well, I tried it for a month and then had to refocus on other projects. I couldn’t get back to it for a while.”
“I started it, but then my boss (or associate) left, so I had to juggle too many projects.”
“We had it all set up, but then the communications department started working on a big website overhaul, so we had to put monthly giving on hold for a few months.”
I get it. Things happen. That’s why I recommend you automate or pre-plan as much as possible. If you have a few hours, set up some emails asking for monthly gifts and schedule them for the next few months. Done!
If you have an automated email welcome series, build in the monthly giving option in the third or fourth message. Done!
If you’re sending out direct mail appeals, include the “Make This a Monthly Gift” option on every reply form. It’s there, and nobody can take it away from you. Done!
When it comes to monthly giving, try to use as many opportunities in the year as possible. Pre-plan and pre-create. Done!
Make your monthly donor acquisition flight non-stop, and you’ll get to your destination (your goal of X new monthly donors at a tune of $288 a year) so much sooner!
And if by chance the non-stop option simply isn’t possible, see if you can schedule just one hour a week to focus on some pre-planning and pre-creation. The more opportunities you create to ask, the better.
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.