Treat Your Monthly Donor Like Your Best Friend (Until Death Do You Part)
If you’re an organization that has had monthly donors for a while, you’ll know that some of your monthly donors can and will stay with you for decades! Of course that in part depends on their age when joining. Typically, I’m seeing that those donors continue to give monthly for 5 years to 7 years.
That’s great news, isn’t it?
If you treat your monthly donors like your best friends, the news will get even better! Because these “small” donors will leave you in their will!
But you do have to say “thank you” like you mean it. You’ll have to cultivate them and keep them up-to-date on what’s happening with your organization. You’ll need to tell them how they’re the hero in the lives of the children, animals or clients you serve. You’re making sure you have an inbound telephone number and email address they can use if they have questions. They will have those because they care enough about your organization they’re giving you their coveted credit card of bank account information.
And during your friendship with them, occasionally broach the topic of how they’re so important to your organization that you’d like them to consider leaving your organization in their will.
Gently plant the seeds, so they can truly leave a legacy when they pass on. If you can find a donor who has told you why they’ve left you in their will and you’re able to use that story in your newsletter, email message and a special invitation, you’re truly “golden.”
If you treat monthly donors like your best friend, you’ve made it more comfortable to have that important conversation for what happens if they’re not here anymore.
Don’t be surprised to learn that they are 6 times to 7 times more likely to leave you in their will than other donors who do not have this tremendous ongoing relationship with you.
Monthly donors may not be able to write the big checks, but they are willing and able to leave you in their will.
This statistic is based upon studies done mainly in the U.K. (where they actually review every will), and I’ve seen it with one of my clients here. A year ago, when we looked at the sources of their legacy income, we found that 75 percent of it came from monthly donors. Another reason why monthly donors are so powerful, you know!
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.