Monthly Giving Delivers Stability to Nonprofits During Crisis and Calm
One of the lasting lessons of the coronavirus pandemic for many nonprofits is the need to ensure reliable, ongoing sources of revenue, and while the nature, focus, and operating models differ from one organization to the next, virtually all can benefit from monthly support from donors, as detailed in the newly published Monthly Giving Made Easy.
Written by Cape Cod-based giving guru Erica Waasdorp, whose Monthly Giving brimmed with time-tested tactical advice, Monthly Giving Made Easy offers a virtual cornucopia of ideas and how-to’s that any nonprofit can implement (if they do not already have a monthly giving program in place).
First off, why?
Most importantly, because monthly giving programs are donor centric. Donors care about your nonprofit, for they would not give otherwise, and, Waasdorp writes, monthly giving gives donors “the opportunity to help you. By allowing them to support you in a way that works best for them, their schedule, and their budget.”
Not only does it work for donors, it also enables nonprofits to generate more revenue. According to Waasdorp, monthly donors, on average, give six times as much on an ann ual basis than the typical one-time donor gives via the mail (and three times more than they give online).
Donors are also more loyal than one-time supporters. The retention rate for first-time givers is 23%, which increases to 60% for repeat donors. But monthly giving has a 90% retention rate. In addition, donors who start out giving a small amount each month also often increase their level of giving, and the ongoing relationship can pave the way to occasional large gifts and even sizable bequests.
Putting in place a monthly giving program, like any fundraising effort, requires a plan. Waasdorp presents a five-step approach that forms the bulk and substance of the book: preparation, acquisition, cultivation, retention, and upgrade.
Monthly giving doesn’t happen by itself; it needs someone to shepherd it, which means putting someone in charge of starting and growing the program. In other words, nonprofits need to make it a priority, which may be the biggest hurdle for organizations that don’t yet have such a program. Making monthly giving “a thing” in their organization needn’t be expensive or difficult, but it does take commitment.
“Monthly giving will and should permeate your nonprofit…Monthly donors will touch every program and every giving level…This means that every part of your organization needs to be on board with that monthly giving focus,” Waasdorp writes.
Assigning monthly giving its own budget line, and holding everyone in the organization responsible for contributing to it, provides an effective way to get the full team working together and sharing in the excitement of seeing that income grow.
Anyone with questions about how to implement a monthly giving program owe it to themselves, and their organization, to read Monthly Giving Made Easy, for if nothing else its sheer comprehensiveness—including exercises, hints, lists, and action items—will likely motivate them act.
With everyone starting to breathe a little easier with the pandemic apparently receding in the United States, nonprofits that emerged intact deserve to celebrate. But, we all know, crises will continue to intrude. Monthly donors will help nonprofits weather them, Waasdorp writes, “Because when you know a certain amount of money comes in, you can keep the lights on and you can keep your crucial programs going.”
Monthly Giving Made Easy
is available in hardback from Amazon and as an ebook.