Recurring Gifts Rocked It on Giving Tuesday
The results speak for themselves. Giving Tuesday 2022 saw a 15% increase in dollars raised compared to 2021 with $3.1 billion in total. Wow. If you rocked the results for your Giving Tuesday campaign, congratulations. If you didn’t, there’s always next year and end of year. If you don’t ask, you’re certainly not going to get it.
I personally tracked all my Giving Tuesday emails and moved them into a special inbox. I didn’t start that tracking until Giving Tuesday itself, but I really should have started the week before.
Probably more than ever before, many organizations started early. They announced a match, Giving Tuesday or a combination of both. They followed up. One organization created a Giving Week.
And nonprofits didn’t just announce Giving Tuesday via email, mind you. From one organization I support as a monthly donor, I received an appeal announcing an eight-time match a few weeks before Giving Tuesday and then a final reminder the Saturday before.
I received a postcard about Giving Tuesday from another organization I support monthly the week before. A daring move considering all the postal and production delays, but it worked.
Then If I turn to my emails, there was only one organization that asked for a straight monthly gift. They always do this in every email, so Giving Tuesday was not an exception. Sadly, only a few organizations recognized me for my ongoing support as a monthly donor and asked for an extra gift. One organization did that and organized a virtual, monthly-donor lunch gathering, which gave the nonprofit a good reason to reach out with extra emails. The organization even generated a second match and reached that second goal. Amazing!
Most organizations had a match — I only saw a handful of smaller organizations that did not have one. Especially for smaller nonprofits, getting a match can be a challenge. The smallest amount I saw was $500.
Historically, the focus on Giving Tuesday has not been on recurring gifts. But this year, with the cost-of-living crisis, recurring giving grew more than I had expected.
Some organizations had the monthly gift option preselected. I always worry a tad as donors are so hot to trod to make their recurring gift that they may regret that later.
Many other nonprofits instead offered the monthly giving lightbox. I really like those because the donor must make a distinct decision to give monthly so they’re more aware of the commitment they’re making.
As you know, Meta offered a special match for recurring gifts made on Giving Tuesday (and through Dec. 31). I’ve not yet seen the results because their match doesn’t apply until the donor makes their second month gift, so be on the lookout for an update in 2023. It’s crucial to keep an eye on these recurring donors for sure as they’re not flowing into your system automatically like other recurring gifts that come through your payment platform and your own website.
Unfortunately, Giving Tuesday did not report on the number of recurring donors generated that day, but Classy and Neon One did their own tracking and reported on it. (Note that several other platforms and donor databases reported on overall trends, but I only focused on those few that included recurring giving trends.)
Classy reported that this Giving Tuesday recurring donors on Classy gave 37% more recurring dollars compared to Giving Tuesday last year, resulting in more than $272,000 in new recurring revenue.
“The emphasis on recurring giving shows us that donors are passionate about making a lasting impact that extends beyond Giving Tuesday,” Classy said in the announcement of its Giving Tuesday results.
Neon One didn’t quite see that same percentage, but most of their nonprofits didn’t offer a lightbox form, but rather the recurring gift option on the one-time donation form.
“Recurring giving continues to be one of the best investments a nonprofit can make, and our clients saw a 20% rise in the number of recurring donations scheduled,“ Tim Sarrantonio, director of corporate brand at Neon One, said in a recap of Giving Tuesday.
If you consider that the focus of most Giving Tuesday emails is to have donors make a one-time gift, a 20% increase or a 37% increase are tremendous! In both situations, the donors chose to tick a box to make the gift recurring. They’re committed from the get-go.
Neon One saw that a third of all donors were new to the organizations they chose to support this year. That too is very powerful.
So, before you jump on the year-end campaigns, make sure you check that every single donor who made a gift on Giving Tuesday received their thank-you letter and start the welcome email series to include a recurring giving message.
To sum it up: Recurring giving is a tremendous way for a donor to support an organization they care about, especially now in a recession or cost-of-living crisis. Or, should we call them uncertain times? Donors want to help.
You asked on and around Giving Tuesday. Thank the donors who gave (every single one of them), then report back on how gifts are making a difference. Then ask them for another gift — or better yet to consider a recurring gift — preferably at a time when the competition in the mailbox is slightly lower. Let’s rock recurring gifts even more in 2023!
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.