What’s the Biggest Monthly Giving Mystery?
As you know, I do a ton of blogging and presenting on monthly giving. I talk to organizations about their monthly donor programs all the time. But I haven't been able to solve the biggest monthly giving mystery: “What’s holding organizations back to start or grow their monthly donor program?”
I’d love to find out from you what you think it is, because I’ve not yet been able to answer that question. I can guess at some of the reasons (or myths), so let’s demystify them.
Myth 1: 'Starting a Monthly Giving Program Is Expensive'
Not true any longer! If you have a way to accept gifts online, you can accept monthly gifts.
Myth 2: 'Starting a Monthly Giving Program Takes Too Much Time'
Not true any longer either! If you can accept gifts online, you can accept monthly gifts, and you can promote monthly gifts in all your online activities. You can even plug in new monthly gifts you receive from other sources using your payment form. Even an hour a week can do a lot. Just one email can make a difference. Just one message in your email newsletter can prompt a donor to give monthly.
Myth 3: 'My Organization Needs Money Right Now'
Not totally true, and here’s why: The number one reason why a monthly donor gives monthly is because he or she wants to help. So if you can make the case for the donor to make a gift, you’ll get that donation. Be it once or monthly — either way, it’ll make a difference. Monthly donors will give you a lot more money this year and for years to come.
Myth 4: 'Once Donors Give Monthly, They’re Always Going to Stay at That Low Level'
Again, not true. There are great examples of $5 a month alumnus who started giving $1,000 and multiples of that when cultivated and asked for higher gifts.
You can ask your monthly donors to give more often. You can ask your monthly donors to upgrade to higher levels. You an ask them to support specific projects with a bigger, special, gift. They’re "committed" to your organization. They care. They want you to succeed.
Myth 5: Following Up on Monthly Donors Who Stop Donating Is Intrusive and Not Donor-Centric'
Not true if you have the right mindset. You’re not nagging the donor when you let them know their payment didn’t come in. Rather, you’re doing them a favor by letting them know their monthly gift didn’t come in. They probably didn’t notice yet. Remember, they want to help! UNLESS they call you or let you know they want to stop, they want to continue.
So, if none of these myths are true, and you haven’t set your intentions to make 2020 your best monthly giving growth year yet, what is it that’s holding you back? What is your biggest obstacle in growing your monthly donor program? Can you help me solve this mystery?
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.