What’s the Most Common Monthly Giving Program Mistake?
I was looking back at some questions posed in a webinar I presented recently, and this was one of them: “What’s the most common mistake you see is made when it comes to monthly giving?”
Of course, I’d love to say that most of you are not making any mistakes, but that’s not totally true. After all, we learn from mistakes, and we can make it better. That’s what we must do every day.
The biggest mistake I’ve seen when it comes to monthly giving is not asking.
Granted, it’s not your fault when you are already wearing multiple hats. Especially coming out of a very difficult pandemic year, juggling even more (kids and school, working from home, to vaccinate or not to vaccinate, and perhaps even worse…). Time may be at a premium.
It’s certainly not your fault when your boss or board tells you that now is not the right time to ask even if you know better.
It’s certainly not your fault when your finance person keeps telling you to focus on the short-term.
It’s definitely not your fault if you have an agency or consultant who doesn’t think monthly giving is going to do anything for you. After all, what’s in it for them?
Believe me, I’ve heard sad stories where nonprofits were working with an agency or consultant who was just trying to push them to mail more without a focus on the next step: trying to upgrade donors to give more often, ongoing i.e., monthly donors. Fortunately, that has changed but the thinking is still there.
One of the questions I ask my audience is how often they ask donors to consider a monthly gift. I still see some people say zero. Well, how do you think you can grow your number of monthly donors if you don’t ask? Give donors the opportunity to step up their giving some more. A monthly gift may be what they’re more comfortable doing.
Take a moment today and look at your communications schedule. Where can you fit in a request to give monthly? How often can you add that ask in the mix? I bet you can at least add one email a month, if not more.
Chip away at it. That’s how you grow your number of monthly donors in a consistent way. It all starts by asking.
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.