People most often associate me with non-profit storytelling and donor communications. But in a past iteration of my career, I managed a monthly giving program of over 3,500 monthly donors. Yep, it was a huge monthly giving program! From my experience managing and growing that monthly giving program, I’ve learned a few things about monthly giving.
Today I want to share with you 5 ideas to improve your monthly giving program.
- Acquire through the phone, upgrade through the mail. Not only was this the key to my program’s success, I’ve had several clients have success with this formula. It is worth every penny to invest in a quality telemarketing firm to make the monthly donor conversation phone calls for you. You’ll usually break even within the first year and if your organization focuses on great stewardship, you’ll have a high retention rate. Send them an upgrade ask through the mail once they’ve been a monthly donor for about a year.
- Define the value proposition. Whether you’re thinking about starting a monthly giving program or you already have one going, be sure to define your program’s value proposition. In other words – why should someone become a monthly donor? What is the benefit to them, and to your organization? You may come up with a couple different value propositions. Try testing them out to see which one gives you the highest response rates. For example, in the monthly giving program that I managed, we found that our donors responded to reducing their mail volume and convenience of monthly giving. Very pragmatic reasons, but effective nonetheless.
- Your onboarding process matters. What happens when someone signs up to be a monthly donor to your organization? Hopefully your answer is not nothing. It is very important to have a highly personal touch point with new monthly donors. When they sign up consider making a thank you phone call or sending a handwritten thank you card. Some organizations will also send a welcome packet to new donors.
- Stay in touch. It is easy to assume that once someone becomes a monthly donor, they have reached a level of engagement that requires less cultivation on your organization’s part. That is false, my friend. Monthly donors are a key segment of donors that are the most likely to leave a legacy gift. Your work is not done once they sign up. Since they won’t be receiving regular appeals from your organization, create a communications plan specific to monthly donors. They will ensure that donors don’t go months without hearing from your organization.
- Stewardship, stewardship, stewardship. Monthly donors are giving to your organization all the time. 12 times a year to be exact! From the work of Penelope Burk and others, we know that donors want to know their impact. Find ways to regularly communicate donors’ impact through stewardship touch points. If you need help developing a stewardship plan for your monthly donors, I highly recommend Stewardship School.
Looking for more resources and advice for monthly giving? Network For Good is hosting the Recurring Giving Challenge. This is a valuable and free e-course that will help you launch create and optimize your monthly giving program.
Do you manage a monthly giving program and have a tip to share? Leave a comment below this post.