Top 3 Monthly Donor Retention Tips
By now, you know the tremendous power monthly donors have. You know how it can help improve your donor retention to much higher levels. We typically see monthly donor retention rates between 87 percent and 95 percent—that’s double that of one-time donors.
So, as monthly donors are starting to take hold in nonprofits, it’s important to put a few things in place to keep those donors giving monthly to your organization. Here are the top three monthly donor retention tips:
1. Put someone in charge of your monthly donor program.
This is an easy one, and you may ask, what does that have to do with declining or expiring credit cards? The answer is that the person in charge will actually be able to look at the numbers, trends and processes and take action if needed.
I see too many organizations that have “multiple cooks in the kitchen.” They’re all wonderful individuals who execute a portion of the program, but they may not know how the pieces all come together. And what happens? Things start falling through the cracks. If you put someone in charge, he or she will help prevent monthly donors from dropping off and drive the program to higher growth than you could ever imagine.
2. Test your donor service.
Monthly donors are loyal donors. They are interested in what your organization is doing. They will have questions. Make sure that there is someone at the other end of the phone or email to answer those questions. Some phone systems nowadays can be very complicated and convoluted. Have a family member or friend make a call or send an email to see how long it takes for them to get an answer. It only takes a few minutes to do.
3. Test your “systems.”
I recommend that whenever you create a new online monthly giving page or try something new in your program, always test a monthly donation first to make sure all of the pieces work. You want the auto-responder to look the way you want it to look and the email confirmation comes out the way you want it to come out. You want the monthly donation to flow into your donor base the way you want it to flow, and you want the hard copy “thank you” letter to go out right away. You may wish to consider one or two volunteers who are close to your donor’s typical age and have them try it out first. Yes, it’ll take just a little bit longer to go live, but it will save you time in the end because everything will be perfect!
If you implement these three tips, you’re on your way to keep your monthly donor retention rates at record heights!
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.