Using Other Sustainers to Invite New Monthly Donors
We know that video gives a major boost to open and click-through rates online. So, why not use it to your advantage and invite other donors to join your monthly donor program?
Look at your current monthly donors—even if you have just five of them. Call them up, and ask them if they’re willing to share why they’re giving monthly. Then ask them if they’d be willing to say this on video.
You don’t have to have a huge budget to make a video that’s personal and inviting.
Most organizations do not have extensive financial resources to market the program. The least resource intensive and least invasive is by using email appeals.
Having said that, those organizations that are most successful with their programs are those that really focus on that way of giving and market aggressively to their donors.
Start by making the recurring giving page easy to find. If you can do a pull-down menu from the home page, add “Monthly Giving” as one of the options, in addition to “Donate Now” (that goes to the “One-Time Donation” page).
Include the button to donate monthly in every email newsletter you send out.
Include testimonials on your website, in your e-newsletters and your hard copy newsletters, if you send them.
Join the program yourself, and then start asking your staff, board and volunteers. It will help with the internal communication and promotion of the program and also start building the program.
The key with marketing your program is to ask low and get a higher response. You can upgrade later. In other words, if the typical average gift of donors to your annual appeal is $35, you can start with $10 a month, but do not start with $35 a month—that’s too high.
For the email appeals, the most successful campaigns are those that include a challenge.
Find a donor or board member who is willing to put up say $5,000 or $10,000 and develop an email appeal aimed at all your donors, asking for donors to join the monthly donor program.
Set a goal that you think is doable. For example, if you have 500 email names, consider a goal of 30 new monthly donors. If you have 1,000 email names, consider 100 new monthly donors and use a deadline that’s no more than two months from now. If you have an event that’s special, you can use that as a special benefit and reason for the deadline as well.
Note that the typical challenge email series consists of three emails:
- The announcement
- The first reminder
The reminder two days before deadline date
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.