Woman writing monthly giving appeals

January 18, 2024 | Categories Featured, Monthly Giving

How to Write Monthly Giving Appeals: 3 Tips for Inspiring One-Time Donors to Convert to Monthly Giving

As a consumer, there are some things I enjoy having as a subscription service. I rely on subscriptions for things that are particularly important so I don’t accidentally forget them when life gets busy. My dog never runs out of food, my prescriptions hit my mailbox just before I need them, and I even have a quarterly box of little treats that I file under “vital self-care” in my budget. 

As a current donor and volunteer fundraiser, I feel the same way about monthly giving. While I don’t have the means to make a major gift yet, I still express my joy and live out my values through my philanthropy. And when I get my receipts each year, I’m surprised by how much I’ve been able to give to the causes I care most about, even though my budget feels modest. I’d have to plan around a one-time $300 donation, but $25 per month? I can do that comfortably!

Do your donors know that they can give your nonprofit sustainable, generous support without needing to rearrange their budgets? If not, make it clear in your next appeal! Your donors care about your shared mission and will be inspired by opportunities to make an even bigger difference than they already do, especially if you make it feel easy. 

Here are three tips to consider if you want to convert one-time donors to monthly givers with your next appeal. 

1. Lead with stewardship

This might feel a little counterintuitive, especially if you think of stewardship as the end of the donation process. But if you give your readers a little taste of the appreciation and sense of pride that comes with being one of your recurring donors, they’ll be excited to join your community. Here’s an example from an imaginary nonprofit, Coral Acres Animal Rescue:

“We’re so grateful for our generous community of monthly donors! In the past year alone, monthly donors helped us:

  1. Match 500 dogs to their forever homes
  2. Establish a trap-neuter-return and vaccination program for local feral cat colonies
  3. Upgrade our terrarium and gear for the lizards and amphibians in our care

Join us with your monthly gift today, and imagine how much more we can accomplish with your help in the year to come.”

Adding photos or other examples of donor impact shows that you appreciate your monthly givers and that you follow through on your promises with how you’ll spend philanthropic dollars. 

Want to learn more about monthly giving and other fundraising topics? Check out our collection of expert webcasts, which includes upcoming live webinars and recordings you can reference at any time!

2. Highlight the cumulative effect of recurring gifts

You don’t need to spend a lot of words in your appeal letter to explain how a monthly commitment results in more resources for your mission over time. A simple design choice in your reply device can deliver the message best! Check it out: 

Want to give your appeals a little more pizzazz, but don’t know where to start? Get the free guide, Design Tips for Nonprofits, for tips, tools, resources, and ideas for DIY fundraisers. 

mockup of the Design Tips for Nonprofits e-book

3. Get creative with your program name and benefits

Want your monthly giving program to catch eyes in your next appeal? Give it a name and description that’s relevant to your mission! For our imaginary animal rescue, we could draw inspiration from generosity in the animal kingdom. Bonobos, elephants, penguins, and dolphins have all been shown to engage in gift-giving, making each an excellent option for a monthly giving mascot. I would melt over receiving a special pebble with a thank you card for joining the Penguin Society of Monthly Givers!

Ultimately, while I enjoy the convenience of a subscription-like way to give, I don’t want my monthly giving to feel quite as cold and transactional as my monthly Hulu charge. You don’t need to spend a lot of money or send a lot of tchotchkes to make your monthly donors feel special – a little extra thought goes a long way! 

DonorPerfect clients: Want to send a special, personal message to your monthly donors? 57% of people who watch fundraising videos go on to donate to the cause! With DP Video, you can send personalized, high-impact videos that inspire donors to give generously. 

Don’t have DonorPerfect? Get a demo to learn about how you can raise 25% more funds in your first year with us!

Screenshot of Fundraising Video platform

In short, monthly giving offers your donors a convenient way to fold their giving in to their day-to-day lives and budgeting. With a few small changes to your current fundraising strategy and appeals, you can take advantage of this trending giving method, boost your revenue, and give your donor retention rate a major lift. 

Want to take a deeper dive into starting or growing your monthly giving program? We teamed up with nonprofit consultant and monthly giving champion Erica Waasdorp to create the Monthly Giving Success Kit, available free to download below!

Get your Monthly Giving Success Kit

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Meet the author: Emily Zacek

Emily Zacek joined the DonorPerfect team as a copywriter in January, 2022. She graduated from the University of Michigan in 2014 with degrees in flute performance and organizational studies, and her undergraduate thesis focused on labor activity trends in American arts nonprofits. She brings a...

Learn more about Emily Zacek
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