Start a Monthly Donor Program NOW. 7 Reasons why you can’t afford to wait!
Donors are the lifeblood of successful nonprofit organizations because they make up a large chunk of fundraising efforts.
But having to search for new nonprofit supporters and take them through the donor cultivation cycle is a much more difficult process than reaching back out to past supporters.
So, what if you could reach out to your previous donors? Better yet, what if you could streamline the entire process so you could count on their monthly donation?
That’s where monthly donor programs come in handy. In this article, we’ll share how to start your monthly donor program. Plus, we’re sharing an opportunity for a free training on why your nonprofit can’t afford to wait to start one!
Why Are Nonprofit Recurring Donations So Important?
Nonprofit recurring donations are important because it’s much easier to reach out to someone who already has donated to your cause before.
For every new donor, they’re taken through their donor journey or the donor cultivation cycle. That includes identifying the potential donor and earning their trust before they give.
The entire cycle, while worthwhile, can take a long time. The time and energy spent can be substantial.
But nonprofit recurring donations ease that process. Instead of having to earn a new donor’s trust, you can lean on someone who already trusts your nonprofit organization. It’s a quicker, more efficient way to fundraise.
What Is a Monthly Donor Program?
A monthly donor program makes nonprofit recurring donations simple! It’s a program that your nonprofit donors can opt into. They specify a dollar amount they feel comfortable giving. And each month, their preferred payment method is charged as long as they’re opted into the program.
It makes the idea of recurring donations even easier because it automates the entire process.
Why Start a Monthly Donor Program?
There are many reasons why your nonprofit organization should start a monthly donor program.
We’re sharing the 7 major reasons why a monthly donor program should be a priority for your nonprofit in a free training video!
How to Start a Monthly Donor Program?
Creating a monthly giving program might seem like an overwhelming or daunting task. But it doesn’t have to be! What you need is a solid plan on how you want to start your nonprofit recurring donation program.
We’re sharing how to start your monthly giving program in five steps:
1. Set Your Goals First
First, consider what goals you want to accomplish with your program. You’ll also want to make sure everything ties together with your nonprofit organization’s mission and programs. How is this monthly donor program going to contribute to the projects you’re working on?
You’ll want to think about your donors, too. How can this benefit them? What do they stand to gain from it?
Lastly, think about what you want to happen if you achieved these goals? What would your nonprofit organization look like if you accomplished what you set out to do?
Having these goals first will help you create your program plan and make sure it works successfully. You’ll know where to focus your efforts to make sure your program works!
2. Create Your Nonprofit Monthly Giving Program Plan
With your goals in place, now it’s time to create your nonprofit monthly giving program plan.
Writing out an action plan of how you’ll start your program is crucial to its success. With a plan, you’ll know exactly what direction to take.
- Program Name
First, think about a program name. Is there a name that ties in with your mission or cause? Is it worth it to include a program name at all?
While it’s not necessary to have one, it does add a branding element to your monthly giving program. And it will help to make your supporters feel like they’re part of a community that’s doing great things for the world.
- Ideal Donor Avatar
Next, you want to know exactly who you’re targeting with your monthly giving program. Build an ideal donor avatar so you know how to create your marketing materials and your branding elements.
This ideal donor avatar may be slightly different from the one you have for your entire nonprofit. And that’s okay! What’s important is that you cater to the person you know who wants to support your organization.
- Monthly Amounts Based on Your Goals
Based on your ideal donor avatar and your goals, you’ll want to come up with suggested monthly amounts.
Many nonprofit online donation software will help you do this, too!
- Branding and Marketing Strategy
Start putting together your visual elements for your nonprofit monthly giving program. What will it look like? What will the copywriting sound like? Be sure to have it coincide with your overall nonprofit branding strategy.
With your branding elements in place, you can also start looking at developing your marketing strategy for your program. Where will you show up? How will you promote your program?
- Analytics and Reports
Finally, decide how you’ll test and measure how your monthly donor program is doing compared to your goals. Again, many online donation platforms offer in-house analytics to help you do this.
3. Choose Your Online Donation Platform
With a plan in place, it’s time to set up your online donation platform. Many of the best nonprofit online donation platforms offer monthly giving program options.
They’ll help you set up the donation processor, build landing pages, and provide in-house analytics.
4. Promote Your Monthly Donor Program
Once everything is set up and your plan is in place, it’s time to announce your monthly donor program to the world.
Based on the plan you’ve created, start promoting your giving program on your marketing channels. That might include social media marketing, paid social media ads, nonprofit email marketing, and your nonprofit website!
5. Build Relationships with Your Nonprofit Recurring Donors
As you promote your monthly giving program, you’ll get quite a few takers for people who want to support your cause. But don’t let that be the end of the road. Instead, take the time to further your relationships with those nonprofit recurring donors.
They’re doing you a great service, so be sure to show your gratitude.
And don’t forget, if you’re ready to learn more about nonprofit monthly donor programs, watch our free training video!
Start a Monthly Donor Program - Video Training Transcript
So Welcome to How To Start A Monthly Donor Program Now, 7 Reasons Why You Cannot Afford to Wait. Alright, so here's a quick thing about me. I will have two books now. Monthly giving made easy. Most recently. Monthly giving the sleeping giant lots and lots of great resources.
And at the end of today's webinar, we are going to be at a rapid pace here, but there will be an e-mail address. So feel free to send me any questions after today's webinar. I'm really, really passionate about this. So, I really want you to be successful and grow your monthly donor program because you really cannot afford to wait. So I'm going to start you off, right, where the poll. How many multi donors do you have now? Is that fewer than 100 between 600 more than 500, or you don't have any yet, but you're thinking about it, or maybe you have another number there? So how many monthly donors, do you have now?
And as Marcelo said, we're not gonna have time for questions but please feel free to reach out afterward. Alright. I'm going to close the poll are array. So, it looks like 65% of you has fewer than 100, and then 13% says, hey, I'm not, we don't have any yet, but we're thinking about 20%, has between 105 on it. And then some of you have even more than that. Awesome. So, even if you have just a few, that's a great, great starting point, right.
So, what we're gonna cover today is how monthly giving is easy for the donor, right? We're all talking about donor-centric. So it's really, really easy for the donor, but it's also easy for you. And if the pandemic has taught us anything, it's the importance of having that ongoing revenue come in the door, right? Monthly, giving costs and resources are minimal. It really doesn't take much time and certainly not a lot of money to do it. Monthly giving increases, your donor retention, monthly donors give more money, and as I mentioned, they provide that money, that operating revenue, unrestricted money, that can keep the lights on. And, oh, by the way, just because they give monthly, doesn't mean that you cannot upgrade them to higher levels.
They can absolutely give more money. Alright, so let's jump to number one. Month giving is easy for the donor. As I mentioned, it's donor-centric. Gifts fit their budget. Monthly donors are all over the map, there, single, they're married. They are busy, they have busy lives, you know, they're on their phones. They're, you know, they want to just feel part of a community. They wanna make a difference, right?
And monthly giving is just a way that they can do that more affordably, right? And it is so much easier to make these gifts.
So if you think about it, 50% of baby boomers. And that's probably the bulk of your recurring donors. When you think about it, when you look at your donor base, 50% of baby boomers are already giving monthly. But 60% of younger donors are also giving monthly or considering it. And they're going to do that on their phone or their tablet, right? I mean, they're much more comfortable even giving their credit card information, giving their bank account information, They're signed up for subscriptions, right? So they're really, really comfortable with that way of giving.
So you want to make it easy to find, right? So again, you want to make it easy for the donor. So don't hide it, put it right out there. Here's is an organization, a smaller organization. They're just starting out with their monthly giving program. And the first thing they did was they added the button, Give Monthly on their homepage. Hey, wow, you cannot miss it, right?
So make it easy to find, to make sure that you, you can put it right out there. I mean, donors are not mind readers, and monthly donors are certainly no different. Right? So we have to tell them where to go and find it.
Small asks, make a difference.
Donors want to help, and, again, sometimes, they're not able to write the big checks, but they can do $10 a month, $20 a month, $50 a month, even, right? So, make them feel special. Make them feel that they can make a difference with even a small amount of money. If it's easier in your budget, will you consider a monthly gift of $5 or more? Right?
So small works really, really well if it is in the door, it encourages donors to go to that monthly donor page, and then they will self identify, they will tell you what amount they are comfortable with. But, if you tell them that a small amount is wonderful, then that gets them more likely to go there, right?
As mentioned, it doesn't matter what time of day, where they are, they can do it on their mobile phone, it can do it on their desktop.
It's really easy to make a monthly gift, Right? So, the other piece is, obviously, reason number two is monthly. Giving is easy for you, right? We're all about making it easy. When I started out in monthly giving, now, almost 20 years ago, it was really hard, right? It was actually expensive. We didn't have all of these tools and processes that you have in place now. They are already there. You just have to use them. So you get your online donation form, your online payment processor. You get your donor base in place. You got your thank you processes. You may just have to tweak them a little, right? But you have the tools. So, let me ask another poll here, who handles your online regular donations? Now isn't Stripe donor, perfect, razor's Edge, Bloomerang other, you know, And feel free to use the questions box to type in what the other is there.
And again, there are so many systems out there now that can help with giving, in general, with monthly giving. I mean there's almost like a new one that comes up every month. Right. So there's, you know, I can't say, well, this is the 1 number 1 system that you need to have in place because all of these systems are wonderful. All of these systems can handle monthly gifts, they can handle recurring gifts, sustain their gifts, all the same.
No different names for this theme Group of People. Alright, so let me close this poll now, rate. So, 24% of you have a straight grade, 21% Donor Perfect, and then a lot of you have Razor's Edge. Blackboard product is a lot of them. And then several others there, OK, So great. So, again, you see, it's all over the map, right?
But all of these individual programs can handle monthly gifts, Here are just a couple of the other ones that are inexistent little green light. You know, Bloomerang, so many, so many a fundraiser up, Neon, you know, solve. All of them can handle it.
And this is a classy example, you're online forms can handle. Here it is. Your monthly donation is there.
So, again, it's not a lot of heavy lifting anymore. Little Green Light, Your online forms can handle it, donation schedule monthly, right?
Your Thank you Processes are in place, but I recommend that you test it, especially if you're just starting out, is have somebody, or preferably make yourself a monthly gift and see what your thank you process looks like. What is your thank-you e-mail, say, What is your thank-you landing page, see if you have one. Right? So, make sure that that does refer to your monthly recurring donation.
So, you want to as I said, you want to tweak that a little bit, but it doesn't take up a lot of time, and certainly not a lot of money. So, monthly giving cluster resources are really minimal Now. You don't need many donors to get started. So I've worked with organizations that had 500 e-mail addresses, for example, and they were able to generate a nice number of monthly donors already that will help them with that ongoing revenue. Right. So, of course, to more donors, you have to get started, wonderful. But you don't need a lot of them to get started because you have the tools already in place. It's not like you have to invest a lot of money to get going on it.
So, one of the things I recommend is that you start with what the, what I call, that low-hanging fruit. So first of all, it's going to be you. I recommend that you join your own program, I also recommend that you join a couple of other programs. So, just to see what they're doing. Can you do it for five bucks a month, right? 10 bucks a month? That's how I learn, right? So, so when a couple of other organizations are doing that, you admire right, then ask your board? Maybe you have a program focus board, right? So they may not be able to write the thousand dollars checks, but they can do 85 bucks a month, Right? So that's another way, to get that low-hanging fruit in the door volunteers. They may want to help.
You may have never asked them, offer them the option to give monthly and you may have some staffers who want to help as well. And again, they may not be able to write the big checks, but they can maybe do five bucks a month, right? 10 bucks a month.
So starting with the low-hanging fruit, and then built from there.
So here's a case study that, um, you know, I started working with an organization now. It was a children's organization. And they only had volunteers. They had about 500 volunteers. That was our list. And they got a match from a board member who says, OK, well, I really want to grow this multi-donor program because I see the power of it, right? And he came up with $5000.
And they sent it just a few e-mails to these volunteers. And they set a goal of, like, if we reach 25 new monthly donors by this deadline, then we're going to get this $5000 from the board member. And guess what? They were able to get 38 new monthly donors from just a few e-mails to their volunteer list, right?
So it's all about planting the seeds and offering the option for people to help, in a way can ask them, right? So, again, if you haven't grown yet, that may just simply be because you haven't asked enough yet, right? So, it's just like anything.
I mean, you know, monthly giving is not like you have to think very differently about fundraising. The only difference is, when you send out an appeal when you send out an e-mail, instead of asking for a one-time gift, you're asking for a monthly gift, So that's it. I mean, everything else that you're doing in fundraising is applied, right? So, so it's not like you have to change your total thinking, right?
Alright, so we're going to do one more poll here. How many e-mail addresses do you have now? Is that fewer than a thousand is a between thousand and 5000, between 15,000, or maybe even more? So how many e-mail addresses do you have?
And while you're doing that, OK, let me see a year or a kill says every action, don't Joseph's donor box.
I doing it because those are a couple of other options there, for monthly gifts and one-time gift donations. So, alright. Let me give you a couple more seconds here.
Righty. Let's see, I'm going to close it, OK. All right, so it looks like 60% has between thousand and 5000 monthly donors, and then 15% between 15,000 e-mail addresses, and then some even more rate. So you have the tools, right?
Absolutely. So, that's a great starting point, start with your e-mail list.
So how about padding one button in your e-mail in like three lines, right? This organization did this during covert, and they were simply blown away by the number of monthly donors who joined in the middle of a pandemic Right. They'd never done this before. Well, guess what? This is now there.
Go to e-mail setup where they always have these two buttons, right? And again, they keep chipping away at bringing in new monthly donors every time.
So, just say, Will you give monthly. Then, by supporting us, this is what will happen, right. And, yes, I'll make an emergency gift. Yes, I'll make a one-time gift. So, you have nothing to lose by doing this. I mean, you have these e-mail names, Why not invite them to consider it, right? And then when you give go to the gift monthly page, you obviously when you want to go to the give Monthly button, you obviously want to go to the monthly only Option on your, you know, like you're giving page, right? So you don't want to confuse them at that particular point you really want to make it very clear. I click the button I want to do this.
I'm going there right your e-mail newsletter put it in you know, again. It's like every put in a little button in there. It's a constant adding of opportunities and telling the donor that they can give monthly, right? So, So you need to keep planting the seeds.
I mean, it's not gonna just happen, And Then you can forget about it. You want to continue to say, Oh, yeah. You know, like, Hey, I can do this. I was thinking about it. Yes, let me do it now, right?
Video, very powerful, right? You know, in general, fundraising rate.
But especially if you can reach out to a couple of your existing donors, your existing monthly donors, ask them to give monthly, and then, um, asked them why they're giving monthly. Right? And you'll be amazed. I mean, this organization that I mentioned earlier, they had sent a letter, just a short letter to their monthly donors, asking them with a little, like, you know, like a card, with, included in any reply envelope. Asking them if they don't want it to write down a testimony why they're giving monthly, and they got wonderful testimonials back, that they can then use for other purposes, Right. They can put it on the website. They can pop it in an e-mail. They can put it on on video, if you're able to invite them to do so right, especially in these days of Zoom and GoToWebinar, GoTo meeting and Google, you know, all of those different options. Right.
So, video is very easy. It's cheap, it doesn't have to be fancy schmancy. It can just look. Come. It's, it just has to come from the heart rate. So, you actually have YouTube there, as well. Social media is also easy and cheap.
So, what you're doing in your e-mails, make sure you share that on your social media pages, but do direct people for monthly gifts to your online giving pages. So, you don't want to do that through Facebook giving. You want to get them to go to your website, because that way, it all stays in the same bucket. So social media is easy to get used to, to millennials and share them.
Wow, longtime monthly donor, she helps plan for the future. Thank you. All right, people are like, wow, oh, let me here at an SSA. Right? So, testimonials are very, very powerful. Donors love hearing from other donors.
Also, with all these tools in place, you don't need a lot of time. Just even one hour a week can go very, very far. I mean, I coined the phrase, like, monthly Donor Monday.
How about every Monday between 9 and 10, you're sitting down and say, Hey, what can I do this week with my monthly giving program, right? So, again, you can just do a lot of things.
It might be, like, OK, well, let me try and create an e-mail version with the button. Right?
See what happens.
It doesn't take up much time and resources anymore. But the good news is that monthly giving increases your donor retention rates, and who would not want their donors to stay with them for a lot longer than they currently are doing. right? So if you look at, What does that mean, donor retention? It's like, how many donors did you have last year? And how many are you keeping this year? And it looks like those organizations that were not asking for money in the spring of 2020 with cold it, they, their donor retention was low. Those organizations that were out there, asking donors from money, their donor retention rates are very similar to what we have been seeing over the last couple of years, about 46%, right?
So take a look at your donor retention rates, and then see, how can you improve them, right?
So, again, you know, like the latest Fundraising Effectiveness Project, we tend to resist.
It looked like it was going down overall, but with monthly giving, it can go up to 90%. It's 95%, Right? So you've just doubled the donor retention rate, and they're going to stay with you for a very, very long time. So it absolutely increases your donor retention rate, so it's not like a churn. You're bringing in new donors, you're trying to convert them to give monthly, and you're trying to get more money from them, Right?
That's part of what we as fundraisers all have to do, where right, because monthly donors, actually also give more money. Here's the chart, and I love this chart because it really tells you the power of monthly gifts.
If you look at the fact that, on average, when you send out an appeal in the mail from the group of donors, that gives you less than $250, and that's your prime target group for monthly gifts. Right, So those donors who give less than 250, those donors, that might give smaller gifts a couple of times a year.
The average gift for one-time gifts in the mail is 50 bucks online, is typically a little bit higher. It's almost like a double hundred and $11. But if you can get them to give 25 bucks a month, Which, again, that's industry average, right? Now, that's $300 a year.
And I've even seen studies of organizations that have received $63 a month, right? 85 bucks a month, you know, so it's really all over the map, but, on average, $300 a year. So, you've just tripled the value of your online donors. You've just quadrupled quintupled the value of your mail donors, right? So they're going to give you more money.
And again, once you get them as a monthly donor, they're also going to continue to use to send you more money as long as you give them the opportunity to do so.
I mentioned it before. And I keep hammering on this because it is so important, right? Monthly giving provides you with that sustainable unrestricted revenue that you need to keep your mission going to keep serving your clients, right? So that's key.
You can plan on being there, no matter what.
Who would have thought we're in the middle of a pandemic. And we're still in the middle of a pandemic, right? On wildfires, we've got like earthquakes, You know, we've got like tornadoes. It's all over the map disastrous well happened, but because you have these monthly donors, you know that the money's going to come in no matter what happens, right? And again, I've been doing this for almost 30 years and I've been through a lot of disasters.
And it was just heartwarming and tremendous to see how many monthly donors were there and how they kept giving, and how we could plan on ongoing support, in my case, like the animals that we were serving, right?
So you can plan on the money to be there in, as I mentioned, just because they're giving monthly doesn't mean that you can't give them other opportunities. You can ask them progress and again, So many organizations asked their existing loyalty to one's for upgrades, and they would just simply be blown away by how many donors want it to do that. I mean, I've heard stories of organizations who had multi-donor call them and say, hey, you know, I know you may be struggling, how can I help, Would it help if I give you more money, right? So, it would help, if you can convert credit card donors to Electronic funds Transfer through your bank account, That will save you some money, and it will prevent your credit cards from expiring, Right.
So, ask your monthly donors for upgrades. Ask them for an extra gift. He, giving Tuesday is coming up. Absolutely. You can see, thank you so much for your ongoing monthly gifts because of you, we can help give animals a chance. And it's Giving Tuesday. Will you make an extra gift today?
And you'll find, on average, 6.5% of your monthly donors will make it the least one extra gift a year, 12% will upgrade their gift to higher levels.
And if you have capital campaigns, if you have special projects, include your monthly donors in that opportunity. But by all means, you want to make sure that you first say thank you for their ongoing monthly support. That's absolutely key, Right? So you want to make sure that the donor knows that you also know that they're already making these monthly gifts, and then, you can open the door to say, Yes, I'll make an extra gift, right?
And then, finally, some bonus wesen. monthly donors are six times more likely.
I'm going to repeat it six times more likely to leave you in their will.
So, they may just be giving you $25 a month now, $300 a year, but they're going to leave you 12,000 to 15,000 to maybe even $50,000. In there will, down the road, right?
So, it can, you can absolutely upgrade them to higher levels.
So, all in all, multi-giving is really donor-centric.
All about the donor, a smart business decision with long-term impact.
So if your board or your boss is not on board yet with this, I mean, definitely, they must look at the slides and see the tremendous power from these monthly donors.
Because just think about it. What if you had more monthly donors? Right, again, just think about, like, say, if you have 50 monthly donors, can go to $130,000 a year. If you can go from 100 to $260,000 here if you go to 500 a month, it runs at $150,000 a year, right?
So, always, always annualized some of your monthly donors.
And you'll, you'll share the tremendous power that that program, that those tiny donors, will have for your organization. So, just think about what. What if you had more monthly donors today, right?
So there you have it. You want to start a monthly giving program now because the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.
The second best time is now as a Chinese proverb, right?
So it's up to you.
Write down some goals, and then, you know, if you want to learn more, there's a couple of other monthly giving programs webinars that you can take here, where charity, how to in you, can actually save 15% discount if you're using this promo code. I mean, this is valid for quite a while, so take that opportunity. If you want to learn more. And, as I mentioned, if you have any questions today, tomorrow, next month, five months, from now, a year, from now, feel free to reach out. Send me an e-mail. Go to my website. Download some of the resources on the free resources that are there.
And you know, I want to wish you all the best, because these are tremendous, li, powerful donors, and you can do it. You have the tools, you have the resources. And I'd love to know down the road how you're doing with your program.
So, thank you.
Thank you so much, Erica. And thanks, everyone, for joining us today. I just posted the link to your library, and to the place where you can reset your password, so that you can access the slides for today's webinar, and just remember that the webinar recording will be added by tomorrow morning. Thanks again, everyone, Have a wonderful rest of your day. Please stay safe and healthy. And we hope to see you again on another charityhowto webinar.