What’s Your Monthly Giving Priority?
Last week, I was talking to a prospect about how to best set priorities when it comes to monthly giving. She wanted to know how crucial it is to only focus on monthly giving compared to other activities. They had fewer than 5,000 donors to work with. They have a small staff and a separate communications department that’s not that fundraising focused, which, in my experience, is (sadly) very typical.
A few months ago, I started talking to an organization that never focused on monthly giving before. They have a huge donor base with many small gift donors, and direct mail and online is their major source of revenue, with a few bequests in the mix. They have a small staff, but at least communications and fundraising are in the same department — so all are focused on fundraising.
Two different organizations in terms of mission. Two different organizations in terms of number of donors. Two different situations with similar goals: grow their fundraising and grow their number of monthly donors.
Both nonprofits have limited budgets. Both are focused on generating as much net revenue as possible. They’re not in a position to make monthly giving their one and only priority (yet).
I’m a realist. I know that your organization may be very similar to these two nonprofits. You can’t go all out. You can’t give up (too much) short term for long-term revenue (yet). Where can these organizations start? Where can you start?
Let’s take a look at the list of 20 monthly giving intentions for 2020 I shared last week. What should your monthly giving priority be?
I highly recommend you tick off the first seven on the list sooner than later. It really shouldn’t take you more than one maybe two hours to do so. You have the tools and your online giving page in place. You may just need to make it a bit easier to find.
Then take stock of where you are now at the beginning of the year 2020. How many monthly donors do you have, and how much money are they worth on an annual basis? You may be pleasantly surprised. Write that down, and put it on your bulletin board.
Then start small, and expand. Go for intention eight, and then nine. Share results on a regular basis. And annualize your results every time. It will help motivate you to keep going and tick off the next item on the list.
For example, the organization that started just a few months ago has a monthly giving button in every email now. And every month, they’ve seen their number of sustainers grow at a tune of thousands of dollars a year! The investment is just a little bit of time. It doesn’t jeopardize the short-term net revenue at all, but it helps them grow that coveted long-term sustainable support they need to serve their mission.
So, what will your monthly giving priorities be this year? How many monthly giving intentions do you plan to tick off in these first few weeks of the year?
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.