GlobalGiving’s Kelly Wilson shows you how to start a monthly giving program in six simple steps.
There are many reasons why nonprofits should start a monthly giving program. Here’s what it takes to get one started right!
1. Know the value of your monthly donors.
Though major donors often steal the spotlight, having a large collection of monthly donors is a sign of a truly healthy nonprofit. It means you have strong community support. Your values, your mission, and your theory of change are resonating with the public. This is awesome! Make sure your team, from your volunteers to your board members, sees monthly supporters as a source of organizational strength and is always on the lookout to build your monthly donor program.
2. Make the ask!
This may seem obvious, but if you don’t ask, recurring donors will never come your way. You must ask the right people in the right way. Your best prospective monthly donors are typically going to be your current one-time donors, people who already know your work and have demonstrated their support. Consider looking to your board members to join the monthly giving program as a financial demonstration of their ongoing support or try launching a friendly staff competition for who can bring on the most recurring donors. Whatever you do, track your results to determine what outreach method (email, social media, phone call, visit, etc.) yields the highest “yes rate.” In the process, you just might uncover a star fundraiser or two on your staff. The persuasion bar is much higher when making the case for a monthly donation.
3. Spell out what monthly giving will accomplish.
Present your donors with a case worth supporting. How exactly will the world be better if someone gives $15 a month to support your work? Does it mean a month of clean water for a dozen refugees? How about $100 a month? Let your donors know!
4. Make them feel oh-so special!
Many nonprofits have an exclusive name for their core monthly supporters. They could be your champions, guardians, friends, partners for change, or VIPs. The key is to link it back to your mission. For example, the American Civil Liberties Union calls their monthly donors the “Guardians of Liberty” and sends them a membership card upon joining. The end goal? Treat your monthly donors like insiders.
5. Don’t be strangers!
To treat monthly donors like insiders, you can’t speak to them like they’re a stranger. The communication they receive needs to take a different tone than the communication you send to prospective donors who don’t know you as well. This doesn’t mean take monthly donors out of planned communications, but do make them a separate segment (start with your thank you email series!) and let them know how much you appreciate them for being your most loyal supporters.
6. Mobilize your monthly donors!
With the understanding that monthly donors are your strongest supporters and advocates, how can you include them in your work in meaningful (non-monetary) ways? Do you need applause on social media, volunteers, survey responses, petition signatures, letters to the editor, or fundraising advocates? Whatever it is your nonprofit needs, this might be the group to help!