How Will You Engage Your Monthly Donors This Fall?
This question comes up regularly, but especially now, as nonprofits are starting to prepare their fall and year-end appeals. Should you or should you not ask your monthly donors for money?
The answer is a resounding YES. As in YES, you should absolutely ask your monthly donors for money at this time of year.
Unless the donor told you that he or she doesn’t want to hear from you, now is the time to engage and ask for a special or extra gift.
If you don’t ask now, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table. And you’d be “cheating” your monthly donor out of the opportunity to make an additional tax-deductible donation!
You see, if you engage your monthly donors during the year, provide them updates about the clients, children and animals you serve, and you continue to say “thank you” to them for being such a special donor, they will want to continue to support you. In fact, their retention rate goes up if you do so.
You may know that I typically recommend not sending monthly thank-you letters as that’s not great use of the funds.
However, if a monthly donor makes an extra gift, I do recommend you do send a thank you for that extra donation! You’ll need to confirm that you received it. It’s yet another way to say how tremendously appreciative you are of him or her going above and beyond.
Of course, you’ll include all giving in the donor’s tax receipt in January.
I see organizations get another 8 to 10 percent of monthly donors to make at least one extra gift at this time of year without feeling over-asked whatsoever.
In fact, I was reading a monthly donor survey from one of my clients recently and we asked how often the monthly donor wanted to hear from the organization. Their answer: monthly!
So, if you’re in the mail regularly, use your best appeals to reach out to this special group. Recognize them by their monthly donor group name. Use extra or special gift in your ask language.
If you’re in the mail four times a year or less, and your monthly donor group is still relatively small, consider adding a personal note to the letter. They’ll be blown away by this special attention.
And by all means, include your monthly donors in your year-end giving email messaging. You will not regret it. I’d love to hear from you in January to see how well you did.
Erica Waasdorp is one of the leading experts on monthly giving. She is author of the book "Monthly Giving. The Sleeping Giant." 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 just co-authored the "Monthly Giving Starter and Marketing Kit" with Donor Perfect, and she’s working on her next book called "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 cat, Mientje.
You can reach Erica at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (508) 776-1224.