When Monthly Donors Want More…
Donors are fascinating people; and monthly donors, at times, even more so.
If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that one of my recommendations is to invite your monthly donors to events.
Some may wish to attend, and, even if they don’t come, it will make them feel special.
But at times, you give a donor a finger, and they’ll want your whole hand. Here’s an example based upon a recent question during one of my monthly donor presentations:
“What do you do if a monthly donor who gives you $15 a month would like to use that monthly gift toward attending your gala event?”
Your first reaction could be: “Wow, that’s a ‘cheap’ donor.’”
But then you should immediately realize that monthly donors are often on a budget. The donor may be on a fixed income, and their monthly gift is really a stretch.
Rather, I recommend that you talk to the donor. Thank him or her for their wonderful support that helps with the general operating expenses for the organization; then, indicate that you’re organizing this gala event as you need to raise more money for the various programs you’re running, but that there also cost associated with it. Would they be willing to attend the gala at a special rate instead?
Then see what happens. If they indicate that it’s really a stretch, I recommend saying “yes” and letting the donor come free of charge.
Chances are that the above scenario doesn’t happen very often (so don’t make this a public thing, just add the donor to your “comp” list), and you’ll create more goodwill by allowing the donor to attend.
You may even be able to use this as a special opportunity to ask him or her if they’d like to spread the message about giving monthly. Perhaps you have several monthly donors attending and you can put a special dot or logo on their name tag that may get people to start talking about it?
In other words, the “free” admittance of the event, may be a very small price to pay for advertising and testimonials that can pay back many times over in future.
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.