December 15, 2018
 
Making Monthly Donors Part of Your Ongoing Fundraising Operation

Erica Waasdorp
Nonprofits looking for a sustainable, ongoing revenue source shouldn’t overlook people who may be willing to give to them every month, but just need to be asked, and Monthly Giving: The Sleeping Giant shows how to implement such a program.

Written by direct marketing/fundraising pro Erica Waasdorp, who is based in Marston Mills and works with a host of Cape Cod nonprofits, Monthly Giving provides a comprehensive, easy-to-digest tutorial on establishing and operating a monthly giving program that even the smallest organization can put in place.

The reason for doing so is simple, according to Waasdorp: a monthly giving program can generate great rewards.

Monthly givers, also known as sustainers or committed givers, are people who give more than occasional donors but who are not yet major donors. As Waasdorp notes, they’re “the wonderful, consistent givers that can make a difference in a recession.”

Because monthly givers commit to giving regularly, typically via credit/debit card, electronic funds transfer, or check, revenue flows in like clockwork. More importantly, “once you convert someone to a monthly donor, they not only give you more money annually, but they’ll also be retained at much higher rates.”

Like any fundraising program, a monthly giving effort requires investment. How much varies – from as little as posting a sign-up page on your website to a full-blown direct marketing program that can include mail, email, social media, telemarketing, television, and radio.

Often, the most difficult step in implementing a monthly giving program is convincing senior management to give it a try. To make the case, Waasdorp argues, there is no substitute for hard numbers.

Starting small, and inexpensively, is best done by converting existing donors online. She writes: “You have the systems in place and it costs you virtually nothing to do. Then, if you can show some results there, you’ll be able to better make the cases for a test in the mail.”

She also advises testing a monthly donor program early in the fiscal year, to generate results in the same year so that a rollout can be included in the following year’s budget.

This 130-page book works because it is packed with time-tested tactical advice – from branding your program and writing copy to acquiring donors and instituting an ongoing retention program.

Because every organization differs, developing monthly givers requires a tailored strategy. The good news is that monthly givers as a share of all donors to nonprofits has grown steadily, reaching 10% in 2009, and likely to keep growing.

Monthly Giving: The Sleeping Giant is available from A Direct Solution.

Reviewed by Peter Lowy
December 2012


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