When Is a Good Time to Launch Monthly Giving?
During a recent webinar, someone asked me: “Does the timing of the launch of your monthly giving program make a difference? Are there certain times of the year that are better to start a monthly giving program?”
My answer is twofold:
If you’re organization is really gung-ho about monthly giving — as in you almost care more about generating sustainers than one-time gifts — then by all means, go for it!
There is really no bad time to launch your monthly giving program. HOWEVER, it’s crucial that you have everything ready before you launch.
If you don’t have the people or the time to prepare, please do yourself a favor and hold off for a bit. Year-end is a busy time, so the last thing I’d want to do is add any more stress to your plate.
Knowing how you are probably as busy as a one-armed paper hanger, here’s what I recommend you do instead:
Just focus on getting as many one-time gifts in now during the year-end giving days — Giving Tuesday, holiday giving, etc. Then take one hour a week during the next two months, and chip away at getting everything ready for a launch in January.
Print out this list and just cross off each item as you go along:
- Decide who’s going to be responsible.
- Add monthly to your one-time donation page, if it’s not there already.
- Create a monthly giving page if you don’t have one already.
- Link the monthly giving page to other areas of your site and the pull-down menu.
- See how the monthly gift will flow into your database.
- If you can do pop-ups on your one-time giving page, create a pop-up to convert someone to give monthly.
- Create the thank-you landing page/auto-responder, emails, direct mail, etc.
- Create a letter to send out as a special invitation to those donors who gave at year-end.
- Create a few emails to send out in January, inviting your email names to give monthly.
- Create a special part in your homepage slider to link to your monthly giving page.
- Create a launch email to send to your board, staff and volunteers first thing January, so everybody is aware of it.
- Test everything before you go live!
If you just cross off the items on the list above, you’ll be ready to launch come January. What a great time to ask the donor to help 12 months a year.
Don’t worry too much about benefits or names if you think that’s going to take too much time, you can always add that later. The key is to ask your donors to give monthly first and make sure the recognition email and letter are in place. Send those right away. It’s always OK to “surprise” your monthly donors later with a special benefit. They’re getting the big advantage of feeling good by making a difference in a way they can afford.
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.