Shouldn’t Giving Be All About the Donor?
I’m an avid scanner of mail samples. I’m particularly intrigued by how organizations approach the monthly gift option on their reply forms. If you’re at all interested in growing your number of monthly donors, planting the monthly giving seeds on your appeals has become a best practice. Granted, you’re not going to get oodles and oodles of new monthly donors, but it’s a start at no extra cost.
Recently I came across this example. I’ve blanked out the organization’s name as most of what they do is great, but I recommend one more final important tweak.
Let me break down the elements for you. On the front it said:
To support [Nonprofit Name] on a recurring monthly basis, please see reverse side.
So far, so good. It’s great to get people to complete their information on the back, especially if you have a small reply form. That is totally fine.
Then on the back, it had the options for one time and monthly. It said:
Please start my monthly gift of $________/month on the card below ($10/month minimum).
This is still fine. I realize that some nonprofit systems require that $10 a month minimum although if you can take a smaller gift amount or if you don’t have to mention minimums at all, even better.
Then the donor can choose to complete their credit card information or choose EFT. Great! If you can get donors to consider sharing their bank account information, super.
Next to the monthly gift choice, there’s another tick box. But let me share with you how it reads:
Please start my monthly gift of $______/month via bank account transfer. (This is the best option for [Nonprofit Name].)
This is where it gets a lot less relevant to the donor. It’s about the nonprofit. Yes, I appreciate that it is the best option for you as the organization, but I recommend you change the wording slightly to make it more relevant to the people, animals, clients or constituents the donor can support.
How about saying something like: “Your gift will work harder for …" or "Your gift will go even further …" or "Your gift will help even more people, animals, clients, [fill in the blanks] …."
Great job offering the bank account option though! And offering the donor the choice to do so by completing their bank account information or including a voided check is also very nice.
Add just this one small tweak and it will make it all about the donor and how they can make their gift do more with a simple selection of using their bank account. What do you think?
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.