Nonprofit monthly giving programs are popping up everywhere. It’s one of the most popular (and amazing!) nonprofit trends.
But what are monthly donor programs?
And better yet, what do you need to consider before creating one for your organization?
We’re giving you more details about it here:
What is a Monthly Giving Program for Nonprofits?
A monthly giving program for nonprofits is, pretty much, exactly how it sounds. It’s a program that your organization creates that encourages donors to donate each month.
And from it, you may find that you can rely on a certain amount of support from your donors. Once it’s set up, it can also run like a self-sufficient machine, meaning there’s no constant work required!
Monthly Giving vs. Recurring Giving
When it comes to monthly giving versus recurring giving, it’s kind of like the “square is a rectangle, but a rectangle is not a square” situation.
Monthly giving and recurring giving sound the same – but there are a few differentiations between the two.
Recurring giving indicates that a donor gives more than once. But it doesn’t specify how frequently they give. Recurring donations might be something like a donation once annually. It could be once every quarter. It might even be once every week.
But monthly giving has the parameter set. It’s a recurring donation each month.
Monthly Giving Program vs. Monthly Giving
Anyone can elect to give monthly. And more than likely, organizations won’t tell them no!
But a monthly giving program is a community that you create based around supporters who want to give monthly. It’s an opportunity for them to feel as though they’re a part of something greater!
And depending on what your nonprofit team’s capacity is, it may come with some perks. Things like merchandise when they sign up. Or even non-tangible things like exclusive content and donor newsletters giving updates and behind-the-scenes looks at your organization.
What Are the Benefits of a Monthly Giving Program?
There are benefits to creating a monthly donor program for both your organization and your donors.
Here are some of our favorites:
Benefits of a Monthly Giving Program for Your Nonprofit
1. Your Nonprofit Brings in Consistent Support Each Month
There’s nothing like knowing your nonprofit is set up to meet its fundraising goals month after month without any extra hustling.
And when you prioritize marketing your nonprofit monthly giving program, you can count on consistent support from your donors. That makes coming up with ways to bring in revenue much less stressful!
2. Once It’s Set Up Properly, There’s Hardly Any Additional Leg Work
The great thing about monthly donor programs is that they’re relatively self-sufficient. Just about everything for a monthly donation program can be automated, especially if you use the right tools.
Your nonprofit team will probably need to continue marketing the program, but otherwise, it’ll run like a well-oiled machine!
3. You Don’t Have to Follow Up with Donors About Additional Contributions
Since everything can be automated within your monthly giving program platform, you don’t have to go chasing after any supporters. There’s no need for sending follow-up emails asking if they’d like to contribute again. Their preferred method of payment is charged automatically every month!
4. Your Program Keeps Donors Engaged for a Longer Period of Time
If you add a “bonus” to your monthly donor program, such as an exclusive email newsletter each month, you can keep your donors more engaged.
And the longer they’re engaged, the longer they want to stick around. That means that you can count on their support for months (if not years!) on end. And they can see the fruits of the nonprofit’s labor come to life with their help (more on that in a minute).
Benefits of a Monthly Giving Program for Your Donors:
1. They’ll Feel Like They’re a Part of a Community
One of the basic human needs, according to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, is a sense of belonging.
And people look for that in many of the buying decisions they make. They want to know they’re a part of a community of people that act, think, and value the same way they do.
2. The Donation Process is Incredibly Simple
As we mentioned earlier, the donation process month after month is automated. So donors only have to input their billing information once. After that, they don’t have to go through the time and effort of re-inputting it again and again!
That removes a bulk of the friction of making consistent, recurring donations.
3. They Can See Their Support Pay Off with Your Nonprofit Projects
When donors feel engaged with your organization, they’ll want to give for longer periods of time. That might be months or even years!
The longer a donor supports a nonprofit, the more they’ll see the benefits of their contributions. Projects and initiatives are eventually completed. And the impact is created by the organization and all of its supporters!
And donors get to see that, firsthand. Especially if the nonprofit offers an exclusive newsletter with more updates or behind-the-scenes footage of the work being done!
4. They Can Cancel or Edit Their Contributions Easily
There is no such thing as billing someone without their consent. So, if a supporter changes their mind, they can easily cancel or edit their contributions. They don’t have to chase after customer support to ask them to remove them from the program. It’s all self-serve!
Should Your Nonprofit Organization Consider a Monthly Giving Program? 3 Things to Consider:
We’re not saying you should immediately drop what you’re doing and start a monthly giving program.
On the front end, it does take time to create one. Not to mention, for it to be set up appropriately, you probably need to determine a budget. So there are things to think about before you choose to make your nonprofit monthly donor program.
1. Do You Have Donors Who Already Participate in Recurring Giving?
This is an important bit of data to review before deciding on creating a monthly giving program.
The reason being is that a monthly giving campaign is the “next step” after supporters begin giving again and again.
But if your nonprofit is not currently bringing in many recurring giving, then it may be a good idea to push this campaign first. See how your supporters respond.
If the response is good, then it might be time to move forward with a nonprofit monthly donor program!
Every nonprofit is different because every organization’s ideal audience differs. So you have to find what appeals to them!
2. Do You Have a Consistent Marketing Plan in Place?
Your nonprofit team can create the most amazing monthly giving program. It can be perfect for your donors based on what they want to see.
You can do all of the leg work, like setting up a monthly giving program platform, a landing page for the program, and even exclusive content just for those who sign up.
But the old saying, “if you build it, they will come,” doesn’t apply.
So before you decide on creating this new monthly giving campaign, you may need to revisit your marketing plan.
Make sure you have a consistent marketing strategy in place that you’re comfortable with and seeing plenty of results from.
Then, determine how you’re going to use your marketing strategy to promote your new giving program before you launch it!
3. Will Your Nonprofit Team Be Stretched Too Thin At the Moment?
While it’s true that the bulk of your nonprofit program can be automated, it still needs to be set up to begin with.
It’s going to take a team of at least a couple of staff or volunteers to get it off the ground. Not to mention, budgets will need to be discussed so you can find the best online donation platform so you can automate everything.
So, take that into consideration before starting your program. Does your team have the capacity to take that on right now? Or does it need to wait?
5 Tips to Help You Start a Monthly Giving Program:
1. Build a Strategy for Your Nonprofit’s Monthly Donor Program
Before you make any steps toward building out your monthly donor program, you need to put a strategy in place.
Your strategy acts as your roadmap and your measuring stick.
As a roadmap, it will guide you to your end goals (which can be built into the strategy!).
And as a measuring stick, it will help you see how your efforts are progressing. You’ll analyze your metrics to make sure your monthly donor program is moving in the right direction toward those goals.
Try building your strategy using these steps:
A. Settle On Your Goals, First:
In the end, when it’s all said and done, what do you hope to accomplish with the program? Are you hoping to achieve “X” number of recurring donors? Are you hoping to hit “X” dollars in recurring revenue?
When you determine the goals, first, you’ll have a better understanding of how to get there. Sit down with your team and start with this step.
B. Figure Out Who You’re Trying to Reach:
Not all of your supporters will be ideal candidates for your monthly program. For example, when it comes to your major donors, you probably aren’t expecting them to give their current amount each month. That’s not realistic.
So, creating a separate ideal donor persona for your nonprofit’s monthly donor program will help you determine who you’re trying to get in front of. That will also help you tailor your marketing efforts to them.
C. Decide How Much You’ll Need
This ties in with the first step of determining your goals. But if you haven’t yet determined how much revenue you’ll need from your monthly program, then now’s the time to do so.
Figuring out how much your organization needs in monthly income will help you decide your suggested monthly gift amounts.
Knowing who your target audience is will also help you determine the monthly gift amounts, as you’ll know more about your ideal donor’s capacity.
2. Determine Which Online Donation Platform Will Help You Best
Next up, your team needs to decide which online donation platform is best for your program.
With the right processing software, you can streamline your donation page so supporters can easily access it.
There are plenty of choices out there, and the right one for your organization may be different than ones for others.
But ultimately, a few features you want to look out for are:
- A recurring monthly option
- Editable plans for your donors in case they want to opt out of the program or change their monthly gift amount
- Customizable suggested monthly gift amounts
- The ability to create a branded landing page
- Analytics and reporting so you can measure your efforts against your goals
- Responsive landing pages so supporters can see the page on desktop, mobile, or tablet devices
Find out more about online donation platforms (and which one may be a good fit for your organization) at Nonprofit-Apps!
3. Create a Branded Program Name and Landing Page
There are so many nonprofits that market themselves on the internet. So, you need to get your organization and its monthly donor program to stand out from all of the rest.
That’s where a branded program name and landing page come into play. A program name that ties in with your organization and that implies an exclusive community is more memorable for your supporters.
How to Come Up with Monthly Giving Program Names?
It might feel challenging to sit down and try to come up with a clever, catchy, or witty name for your program.
So, here are a few tips to help you find the right one for your organization:
- Keep it short and sweet. A program name that’s too long or too difficult to remember is going to fall on deaf ears. Keep it short and simple to maximize memorability.
Examples of monthly giving program names: The Spring at Charity: Water and The Front Row at She’s the First
- Tie it into your organization’s mission. Is there a play on words you can use? Could you somehow take nouns, verbs, or adjectives that relate to your mission and use them in your program name?
Examples of monthly giving program names: Field Partners at Doctors Without Borders
- Use writing tools. Remember 11th grade English class? It’s time to break out some of those writing techniques we used back then. Try using tools like alliteration or rhyming schemes to come up with a program name.
Examples of monthly giving program names: Support Squad at Team Rubicon
- Add in community-centric descriptors. Remember that your nonprofit is an exclusive community of donors. So, consider using language that conveys that right in the name. For example, try adding words like “partners,” “friends,” “keepers,” or “champions” in your program name.
How to Brand Your Giving Program’s Landing Page?
If you’re looking to brand your landing page, make sure you have an online donation platform that allows for that.
From there, it’s easy to customize the landing page to your branding essentials if you already have your nonprofit branding identity complete.
You can use Canva to manage your nonprofit brand kit. Then, pull your elements from Canva and implement them into the landing page!
4. Prioritize Nonprofit Copywriting to Communicate the Message Effectively
With your landing page built (and the program name determined!), it’s time to start communicating your message.
Your nonprofit’s monthly giving program’s success rides one being able to effectively communicate what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.
That’s also the foundation for nonprofit copywriting! Prioritize familiarizing yourself and your team with copywriting. Doing so not only will benefit your program, it’ll also benefit your entire organization.
5. Promote It Using Your Nonprofit’s Marketing Strategy
Once everything is built and streamlined (AKA, you have your program name, customized landing page, copywriting explaining your program, and an easy-to-use donation page), you’re ready to launch it.
Use your ideal donor persona for your program to determine where and how to promote it. Will you use social media ads? Video marketing? A portion of your Google Ad Grants monthly stipend? A combination of all of the above?
The best way to market your program is to understand where your ideal audience shows up. Then you can get to promoting!
If a nonprofit monthly giving program sounds like a great idea for your organization, then you may be ready to take the next step!
One of our experts at CharityHowTo, Erica Waasdorp, explains why now’s the time to start your monthly program. So grab your seat in this free training session: