August 14, 2023
Nonprofit Technology & Fundraising Blog
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The most effective monthly giving programs show donors how their recurring gifts make them a hero before they decide to join. Don’t just provide donors an option to give monthly – show them exactly what their monthly gift will do. And once they become a monthly donor, be sure to continue to tell them the impact of their generous commitment – again and again.
Example: A $5 monthly donation feeds two dogs for a month. A $20 monthly donation lets us spay/neuter/vaccinate one dog per month. A $50 monthly donation helps us place one foster dog per month.
To ensure your program is accessible to donors with a fixed income as well as those with flexible budgets, design giving levels that start at $5 or $10 and pair them with options to give more. You should also provide donors the opportunity to choose their monthly gift amount, because every little bit counts, and who knows, some may want to give beyond your top donation level!
Recurring donors are already committed to your organization, so asking them to upgrade their gifts will only improve your retention. When asking for a higher donation amount, it’s important to motivate them with information about how the gift will be used to further your mission, or what’s in it for them.
Without knowing it, donors could be just a few dollars away from making a much more tangible impact. For example, a higher donation could fund school supplies for a whole classroom, rather than a single student.
Designating a specific project to be exclusively funded by monthly donors provides your organization the opportunity to treat donors like stakeholders by giving them an inside look at your project’s operations – and a say in how it evolves.
There are two types of monthly donor projects:
Ongoing projects – This could be an ongoing aspect of your program like a service that you offer or projects that rotate each quarter.
Example: Project Kitty Cafe, made possible by our generous Friends of Paws + Claws
One-time projects – They could also choose a limited or one-time endeavor like funding renovations to an outdoor dog park. As each project comes to a close and a new one begins, provide them with an opportunity to increase their gift amount.
Example: Operation Save Puppy Park was made possible by our generous Friends of Paws + Claws.
If your supporters join a program, you can also reward them with perks or benefits beyond their donation. And this doesn’t have to mean spending a ton of money on coffee mugs. A surprise gift can come in the form of donated vouchers from local vendors, progress photos and videos as you get closer to your goal, or a chance to win tickets to an event.
Recognize your monthly donors with exclusive stakeholder benefits:
What’s in a name? A specific, actionable name for your monthly giving program can enable you to launch compelling campaigns that recruit donors for specific projects that they’re passionate about supporting.
Example: Names like “Operation Save Puppy Park” and “Project Kitty Cafe” tell a story about the end goal of your project.
Leverage the power of personal touch to connect donors to the change they’re funding. Through the sponsorship of a specific individual, goals tend to feel much more tangible.
Example: Sponsor a Shelter Pet
For a set monthly amount, donors fund a pet’s food, care, lodging, and veterinary expenses. In addition to receiving an email containing a photo and detail about the pet they sponsor, they’ll receive updates about their pet along with photos that show how happy and well cared for they are thanks to their generosity.
Perhaps giving levels may work better for your monthly giving program than a sponsorship, as they require less work in terms of updating your database.
To find your fit, ask yourself:
Note that you can offer all types of monthly giving options, especially when you have unlimited online forms that enable you to create specific monthly donor groups with ease.
Start slow with one monthly giving option and aim to gain 5 monthly donors in one month, then 5 more the next. Focus on growing your program until you feel it’s time to add another option or pivot to a new one completely.
The good news is, no matter which options you choose or how quickly your program grows, monthly givers are here to support your mission for the long haul.