What is a Monthly Giving Program?
Monthly givers are donors who’ve committed to giving an organization a set amount of money every month. This is relatively straightforward. But why should you make monthly giving into a program? And how?
Your nonprofit organization (NPO) may want to create a monthly giving program for a few reasons. For one, monthly donors have a lot of financial benefits for an NPO. The average recurring donor gives 42% more in a year than one-time givers.
But monthly donors don’t just show up at your doorstep. You have to make a concerted effort to get and retain a donor who will commit to giving monthly.
Creating a monthly giving program will help steward these donors and hold your organization accountable to maintain relationships with monthly donors by providing them value.
Why is Monthly Giving Important?
Aside from the clear revenue boost your organization will get from having a monthly giving program, the donors themselves have a higher retention rate than other types of donors.
According to Donorbox, monthly giving programs have an 80% or higher retention rate on average after their first year. For comparison, the new donor retention rate is under 23%.
Additionally, having a public monthly giving program provides your organization with credibility. For a new person researching your nonprofit, it shows that others in your community trust your organization’s ability to deliver on their mission. They will have faith that their donation has the power to make a difference if it’s in your organization’s hands.
Further Reading: Importance of Recurring Giving
3 Best Practices for a Successful Monthly Giving Program
Now that you know and believe in the importance of a monthly giving program, you need to know how to do it right. Make yours a success by implementing these tried-and-true best practices.
1. Build community
An important aspect of monthly giving programs is forming a community. Through branding, stewardship, and outreach, you can create a monthly giving program with a strong sense of community.
Your monthly donors are a part of your organization’s family, and you should treat them as such. In your emails to monthly donors, it is vital to show your gratitude and include personal touches that make them feel included, welcome, and appreciated.
Every family has a name. Your program should follow suit. A title for your recurring givers is an easy way to create common ground with your recurring donor base. Although the name itself isn’t going to be the driving force behind donations, it’s a nice personal touch. One great example comes from PAWS Chicago titled “Lifeline Monthly Giving Program.”
Build a special donor communications plan for stewarding your monthly givers, including welcomes, thank you’s, prompt receipts, and donor-exclusive updates on the happenings of your organization.
Further Reading: Creating A Stewardship Plan that Goes Above and Beyond the Basics
Donors that are currently giving to your organization monthly are going to be your best advocates. They strongly believe in your mission and trust you to put their money to good use. Having current donors spread the word is a really solid way to build a donor base.
But, you want it to make it as easy as possible for them. They are the pillars of your organization, and you don’t want to be asking them to do too much work on your organization’s behalf for free.
What you can do is write calls to action that they can use to share on social media, send via email to friends and family, or even make a template they can use to create a peer-to-peer facebook fundraiser.
By doing the writing for them, you can ensure your supporters share your message and mission the exact way you want them to. This alleviates the obstacles that would make this a bigger ask. All they have to do is click send.
Further Reading: Monthly Giving Program Email Templates
One way to market your monthly giving program is by branding it into multiple giving campaigns.
A great example of this is Neon Fundraise client Homes for Our Troops. They have an option on their donation form where donors can choose which home-building project they’d like to contribute to, which allows the donor to build a personal connection to the veteran who is benefitting from their donation and the organization as a whole.
Another way to do this is to customize donation forms with suggested amounts that illustrate what your nonprofit can accomplish with each amount. For example, a food pantry may want to share how many families they can feed at each giving level.
By offering financial transparency and choice of initiatives to support, your nonprofit will curate a more engaged donor base who fully understand your mission, believe in your vision, and trust you to provide tangible benefits to the communities you serve.
3. Technical Tips
Lastly, there are many small technical details to think through to keep your recurring givers pleased and help your program run smoothly.
Implementing a donor portal can help alleviate donor losses due to credit card expiration. If your donors can update this themselves and receive email reminders to do so, you can ensure you don’t lose donors due to clerical errors. A nonprofit CRM can help your data management efforts through automation.
Point of Contact
Your program needs a point-of-contact for donors. If any issues arise, your donors having a person in the organization that they can reach directly helps ensure you are keeping your donors happy.
Bonus tip: It is vital to make it EXTREMELY clear on your donation forms whether they are giving one time or monthly. Clarity and effective communication build trust. If your supporters are “tricked” into giving monthly, they will lose trust in your organization.
There you have it. All the tools and tips you need to build an effective monthly giving program.
For More Information on Successful Monthly Giving
Watch our on-demand video with monthly giving expert Erica Waasdorp below
Join the discussion in our Slack channel on connected fundraising