I write about monthly donors a lot because it’s an important part of nonprofit fundraising.
Monthly donations are more important than ever now. If you already have monthly donors, or any type of recurring donor, you’ve been receiving a steady stream of revenue as we continue to navigate through this economic downtown.
You may have had events planned this spring that won’t bring in the money you had hoped for. But your monthly donations should keep coming in. If you’ve been fundraising during the COVID-19 outbreak, which you should be, you may be seeing some additional revenue. Keep it up.
Of course, your monthly donors, and all donors, are so much more than the money they give. They matter and they need to know that.
Check in with your monthly donors
If you’ve been silent the last couple of months, your first communication with your monthly donors needs to be a check-in. Ask how they’re doing. Let them know how much you appreciate their support and give specific examples of how their continued support is helping the people/community you serve right now.
Make a request for an additional gift or upgrade
Don’t send your monthly donors a generic fundraising appeal. Recognize them as monthly donors and thank them for that. Ask for an additional gift or upgrade. An additional one-time gift may be more feasible, but it never hurts to ask for an upgrade.
Keep in mind your appeal needs to be clear, specific, and relevant to the current situation.
Do a great job of thanking your monthly donors
Once you receive a donation, your monthly donors get an extra special thank you. Thank them specifically for their additional gift or upgrade. If they’re new donors or current single gift donors who have become monthly donors, welcome them to your family of monthly donors.
If you’re one of the organizations that send thank you emails to your monthly donors each month, could you please make them less generic by addressing how your donors’ gifts are helping right now?
Promote monthly giving
When you’re fundraising, which you know you should be doing, put monthly giving front and center. Mention it in your appeal and make it a prominent part of your donation page.
If donors are worried about their financial situation right now, giving $5.00 or $10.00 a month may be more doable.
It will help you as well. On average, monthly donors give more. Besides being able to raise more money and have a steady stream of revenue, the retention rate for monthly donors is an impressive 90%. That’s significantly higher than other retention rates.
Monthly giving is a win-win for your nonprofit organization.
Stay in touch with your monthly donors
Send updates to your monthly donors letting them know how their gifts are helping right now. I received an email from an organization with the subject line – Ann, look what you’ve done!
The message opened with – The stories below showcase how your invaluable monthly support is being put to action, responding to hunger on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis. Each story included the ever so important, because of your monthly donations or because of your monthly support.
Try to stay in touch with your donors every week or two. It can and should be something relatively short. I’ve been recommending shorter, more frequent communication over the past few weeks.
You can do this! Keeping it short will make it easier.
What happens if monthly donors stop giving
There’s been some talk lately of donors discontinuing their monthly gifts. If that happens, reach out to them by phone or email and ask why. If they’re concerned about their financial situation, let them know you understand and hope they’ll be able to support you again in the future. Thank them for supporting you in the past and stay in touch with engaging updates.
If you find out donors stopped supporting you because of poor communication or they don’t feel you’re making enough of an impact, that’s something you can change.
While some monthly donors might be discontinuing their gifts, others are stepping up and giving additional donations. It will be different for every organization so pay attention to what going on with your monthly donors.
Pay attention to expiring credit cards
Something else you want to monitor is expiring credit cards. If you haven’t already done this, set up a system where you can flag any credit cards that are going to expire in the next month or two. Don’t rely on your donors to keep track of this, especially now.
Email or call any donors whose credit cards are in danger of expiring. Of course, thank them for being a monthly donor, and include a donation link and/or give a phone number where they can update their credit card information. You could also encourage donors to give via an electronic funds transfer from their bank account instead. Then neither you nor your donors need to worry about credit cards expiring.
Your nonprofit may struggle for a while so you don’t want to miss out on these donations.
Your monthly donors made a commitment to you with their continuous support. Make the same commitment to them by letting them know they matter.