The Value of a Monthly Donor Concierge
Some organizations have implemented a special monthly donor concierge, so you may have heard this term before. It offers a fantastic opportunity for nonprofits to build relationships with their monthly givers.
Guess what? It also helps keep the person who is the concierge — and thus other staff and volunteers — motivated about the monthly donor program. Nothing is a more powerful motivator than speaking to donors and finding out why they give monthly. The concierge and others will be even more enthusiastic to grow the monthly giving program to higher levels.
Recently, I had the pleasure of co-presenting at a conference with a wonderful young woman from a nonprofit. It was wonderful to see her enthusiasm about the program. She just started another job, working with mid-level and major donors, but I could tell she was missing her monthly donors. And it wouldn’t surprise me if she starts a monthly giving program in her new role.
When she was in charge of growing a recurring giving program, she implemented the concierge approach, building those relationships, and serving as the personal go-to for new and existing monthly donors.
Her phone number and email address were everywhere. She was not hiding, unlike some organizations where it’s virtually impossible to get ahold of someone. That’s very frustrating, especially if you have a question about your monthly gift or if you want to update your information.
I always recommend having a person’s name, a phone number and an email out there — in every monthly giving email and every monthly donor letter. What do you have to lose by doing that? Are you afraid the donor will call you? If so, you’re probably not in the right place.
What I’m telling you here is not rocket science. Having a concierge is a great best practice.
The only downside of having a concierge who makes the monthly donor feel heard and feel special, is the challenge when that person leaves. You need to ensure that someone else is looking at the emails and monitoring the phone, so that monthly donor messages do not fall through the cracks.
Having a concierge is such a terrific way to get additional information from your monthly givers.
- Why are they supporting your organization?
- Why did they do so on a monthly basis?
- Can you use their message to reach out to others?
So, start by having an easy, designated email address, so it’s clear to both the donor and the organization that this contact is specific to the monthly giving program.
For example: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
It only takes a few minutes to set up but it’s so valuable. Remember, monthly donors will stay with you for years and years. They’ll upgrade. They’ll give extra gifts. They may need to be reminded that their payment didn’t come in. Having that personal concierge in place will be effective.
Monthly donors are invested in your organization, so make sure they can connect with you in any way possible. They will have questions and you should have someone in place to answer them.
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.