Who’s the One Owning the Monthly Donor Program?
If you’re just starting out or if you’re in the growing stages of your monthly donor program, here is my number one recommendation: Put someone in charge!
If you do this now, it will avoid “finger pointing” or worse—decreasing programs—later. This does not mean you have to do everything yourself—oh no. But it’s so crucial that one person oversees all of the pieces. You’ll be in the heart of it all. You’re the puppet player moving and controlling the strings. You will make it all happen, and you’ll be aware of what’s happening, even if you delegate pieces of it.
In my 20 plus years of building monthly donor programs, this is where things often go wrong. Even if you work with wonderful, responsible people who are in charge of their areas, it’s important to have that one director who ensures that all of the minds, faces and actions are pointed in the same direction.
Monthly donors touch many other areas inside and outside of your organization: Finance, technology, data entry, web, donor support, direct mail, email, communications and more. All are in tune with their areas. But they may not necessarily know what your goals are, and what you’re trying to accomplish.
Take your data-entry or systems folks. They’re great at what they do, but they’re pulled in many different directions. They may not see the power and value of monthly donors. They look at things with their data-entry and systems hat on. What’s in their best interest system-wise may not necessarily be what’s in the donor’s (and your program’s) best interest.
So, as the director of your monthly donor program, you can pull the “moving” parts together simply by doing the following:
- Have regular meetings with all of the players touching monthly donors in some way. Tell them how your monthly donor program has grown and what you are planning to do to grow it even more. Review the processes in place, find any holes and see how they can be filled. Ask for feedback and discuss any problems that may come up. Make them feel part of the solution and the success of the monthly donor program—and fundraising overall.
- Take control, so nothing falls through the cracks, and your program will grow!
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.