“A bird in hand is worth two in the bush” can apply to donors, too. With so much volatility facing both the sector and the communities and initiatives individual nonprofits serve, coming into each month with a collection of reliable donors can serve as a security blanket for nonprofit fundraisers.
If monthly donors were easy to acquire and keep, however, just about every organization would be rolling in consistent gifts.
- Rashad Brown, monthly membership manager at KQED, and Wendy Marinaccio Husman, account director for Mal Warwick Donordigital, provided attendees with elements of focus in building a strong monthly program during their session, “Monthly Giving Awesome-ization” at the Data & Marketing Association Nonprofit Federation’s 2018 Washington Nonprofit Conference. Areas of focus during the session included:
- Recruitment. The most important facets to sustainer recruitment are increasing web traffic, making the donate button easy to find, and optimizing your organization’s main donation form. A monthly giving option can also be placed in mailed-in response forms, newsletters, and welcome kits. Telemarketing and email can, too, be used in seeking to convert recent donors to a monthly program;
- Retention and stop-loss. Engage in stewardship such as regular reporting and exclusive benefits. Avoid losing donors by providing easy contact information for donor services, developing email series for lapsed sustainers, and pre-check for soon-to-expire credit cards so that payment information can be updated in advance;
- Upgrades and additional gift asks. Consider tapping into your donors for one-time campaigns and year-end gifts. When looking to upgrade sustainer donors, approach them with a specific monthly amount, be accurate in your support data, and — if they agree — be sure to avoid duplicating their gifts in the organization’s systems; and,
- Tracking, testing, and analysis. Metrics to keep an eye on include revenue by campaign and month, number of new monthly donors, number of upgraded or additional gifts among current monthly donors, average monthly gift amount, number and reason for lapses, and average time on file.