What Do You Do When Donor Money Gets Tighter?
As you know, I try to watch international trends carefully as they could give us some clues about what to expect next with giving in the U.S.
A great free report to check out is the Donor Pulse Report, published by Enthuse. The latest version is focused on giving around the holidays. Donors are starting to find it harder to donate because of their financial situations. Prices have gone up, everywhere, especially caused by the general inflation, higher energy and gas bills, and higher cost of food.
Just look at the latest expectations for giving.
It will certainly not surprise me if we see similar trends in the U.S. because everything is getting more expensive here as well. A donor can only spend his or her money once.
But, putting my monthly giving hat on, this also offers an opportunity.
If donors cannot write bigger checks, they still want to help. People always want to support other people and animals. People still care about the missions they cared about before. Instead of writing a $100 check, they may be more comfortable giving $10 or $15 a month. So, make it clear to donors that you value them no matter what amount they give. Step up your gratitude activities — even if their gifts are smaller. I know it is always about resources, but, as the Dutch say, “He who doesn’t honor the small, isn’t worthy of the big.”
If donors are struggling, allow them to give the smallest amount you can get away with. And do not forget to have the same mindset when it comes to your existing monthly donors. Just like what happened early in the pandemic, allow your existing monthly donors to pause or change their frequency and give smaller amounts. You will be able to keep many more of them.
Donors want to help! You just must be gracious and truly appreciative of the amount they are comfortable with giving, based upon their circumstances. It’s better to keep a donor than to lose a donor. Who knows what they will be able to give (again) in the future.
Erica Waasdorp is one of the leading experts on monthly giving. She is author of the book "Monthly Giving. The Sleeping Giant." 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 just co-authored the "Monthly Giving Starter and Marketing Kit" with Donor Perfect, and she’s working on her next book called "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 cat, Mientje.