Monthly donors are special because they’ve committed to donating to nonprofits long-term. Retention rates for monthly donors are 90%, which is considerably better than retention rates for other types of donors.
You’d think because of this, organizations would be jumping for joy and giving these donors extra special attention. But you would be wrong. While some organizations do recognize their monthly donors, unfortunately, many do not.
This post will show you how you can give your monthly donors the attention and recognition they deserve. If you don’t have much of a monthly giving program or want to start one, here’s more information on that.
Welcome your new monthly donors
When someone becomes a monthly donor, whether they’re a first-time donor or have upgraded from a single-gift donor, welcome them into your family of monthly donors.
I highly recommend a contact person for your monthly donors in case they need to update their credit card information or make a change to their gift, hopefully an upgrade. Include this information in their welcome letter.
Speaking of letters, tax season is upon us (oh joy), and several organizations have sent me a summary of my monthly donations. This is extremely helpful for people who itemize deductions. Make this letter more than just a receipt. Thank your donors and let them know how their monthly donations are helping you make a difference (more on that later).
Another way to help out your monthly donors is to let them know when their credit cards are about to expire. Don’t rely on your donors to remember this. I’m dreading the day I have to update my credit card information. Most likely I will miss some organizations. This will help you, as well, so you can keep receiving a steady stream of donations.
Make your thank yous more than just okay
When you send your initial thank you letter, you MUST recognize the recipient as a monthly donor.
Many organizations send a monthly acknowledgment email or letter, and I would say most are just okay. Some are basically only receipts. And while it’s helpful to know the organization received your donation, you’re not practicing good stewardship if that’s all you do.
You could spruce up these monthly acknowledgments, both by not making them sound like they were written by a robot and by providing some donor-centered updates.
One recommendation I have is to make sure every monthly donor gets at least one handwritten thank you note a year. You don’t have to write much but you will make a good impression.
Reach out at least once a month
Besides showing #donorlove, here are some other ways to reach out to your monthly donors.
Create a special newsletter for monthly donors or include a cover letter referencing monthly donors. I’m not always a fan of the letter from the Executive Director, so see if you can keep it donor-centered. You could also give a shout out to your monthly donors and include information on how to become a monthly donor.
Hold an open house for monthly donors. Even if they don’t attend, they’ll appreciate the invitation. You could also offer tours, either at a specific time or on request.
Include a list of your monthly donors in a newsletter, annual report, or on your website. Donor lists are just one of many ways to show appreciation and not the only one, so do much more than just that. Of course, honor any donor’s wish to remain anonymous.
Send an email update specifically for monthly donors.
Thank yous, newsletters, and updates are not a one-time time deal. Keep it up throughout the year. Create a special section in your communications calendar specifically for monthly donors.
Monthly donors get their own fundraising appeals
As I mentioned before, once someone becomes a monthly donor, you must always recognize them as such. You most certainly should send fundraising appeals to monthly donors, but not the same ones you send to other donors.
I think the best way to raise additional money from monthly donors is to ask them to upgrade their monthly gift. Be as specific as possible. For example – We’re so happy you’re part of our family of monthly donors and are grateful for your gift of $5.00 a month. Could you help us out a little more this time with a gift of $7.00 or even $10.00 a month?
You can also ask monthly donors for an additional gift during one of your fundraising campaigns, but you MUST recognize they’re monthly donors – We really appreciate your gift of $10 a month. Could you help us out a little more right now with an additional gift? We want to expand our tutoring program to three more elementary schools.
If you send the usual generic appeal, imagine your donor saying – “But I already give you $10 a month and you don’t seem to know that.”
All your donors are special, but monthly donors are extra special. Don’t they deserve some attention and recognition?