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How you can get started with a monthly giving program.

Guest blog by Mike Montalto, amplifi


If you’re like other fundraisers, you might have wondered if a monthly giving program is right for your nonprofit. And the answer is probably, yes!


After all, these initiatives don’t just provide nonprofits with a more consistent stream of fundraising revenue. They also lessen the burden of giving for your supporters and can improve retention rates.


Are the number of small-dollar donations you’re receiving down from last year? What about your donor retention rate?


If so, you’re in the majority! In fact, the number of donations under $100 is down by 15 percent, and new donor retention rates are down 30.4 percent, according to the Fundraising Effectiveness Project’s most recent report.


So, if you’re looking for a way to fight back against these trends, raise money to sustain your initiatives year-round, and make it easier for donors to make an impact, a monthly giving program might be right for you!



Who should we target?

Wouldn’t it be great if all your donors gave monthly? Unfortunately, that will probably never happen. But you can be strategic and tailor your outreach for supporters who are most likely to enroll.


So, who are the prime candidates for your monthly giving program? Your data has the answer.


Dig into your data base and identify any donors who already give more than once per year. These can be supporters who give every time you send an appeal or regularly give without being prompted.


Donors with a multi-year history of making small gifts under $200 are also worth prioritizing in your outreach.


Younger donors, including millennials and members of Gen Z, are more comfortable with subscription-based services than their peers. So, they may prefer to make several small monthly gifts rather than a large one at year-end.


And be sure to target donors who only give online since monthly giving is primarily an online initiative.


Depending on your budget, it may even be worth reaching out to your entire donor base to let them know about your monthly giving program.



Building a brand.

You know you need a unique brand for major fundraising initiatives like a capital campaign or your big annual event. And your monthly giving program is no exception!


Branding your monthly giving program makes it distinct from your other initiatives. It also allows you to focus on your goals and craft messages that resonate more with your audience.

Effectively branding your monthly giving program also establishes a sense of community. It will help your donors feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves!

Your program’s brand includes obvious things like a name, logo, and dedicated landing page. And it also steers the language and tone you will use in your communications. But there’s a lot more to it.


For example, if you assign giving levels or tiers to specific dollar amounts, you should create a unique name for each that builds on your brand. And remember to be creative and keep your mission in mind when thinking of names for giving levels or your monthly giving program as a whole!


Will you offer any special perks for your monthly donors? Don’t forget to consider how a special monthly newsletter, Q&A sessions with your leadership, and public recognition in annual reports as perks for monthly donors can elevate your brand.



Don’t miss a gift!

You risk missing a gift when a donor uses a credit card that expires during the specified giving period. And many nonprofits run into this issue when they first launch a monthly giving program.


Now, you don’t want to limit donors by only taking cards that will be valid for the entire term of a gift, especially if someone wants to sign on for multiple years of giving.

However, you can send an email to remind donors if their preferred payment method will expire soon. Give them a heads up so they don’t miss out on their monthly gift! Some platforms automate this process and send an email if a donor’s credit card is about to expire or if a charge is declined.


Just don’t force donors to re-enter their credit card details each month. Remember, giving should be as easy as possible. So, when a donor renews their monthly commitment after their first term, remind them to make sure their payment method is up to date for the next giving period!



Do donors understand the terms?

It’s very important to be specific when it comes to recurring gifts. You need to make sure donors understand what they’re signing up for. So, clearly state the time frame of the recurring donation and provide donors with options.


Will this gift automatically renew every month for a year? Consider providing options for giving over a 6, 12, or 18-month period so donors can commit at a level they feel comfortable with.


Your donor management system may process monthly gifts automatically for an indefinite amount of time until donors manually opt-out. So, make sure you are clear and upfront about these terms if you use this approach!



There’s a lot more to it.

And a lot more than we can cover in a single blog post. After all, you need a plan to go surround sound to promote your monthly giving program, an effective strategy to steward monthly donors and determine the best way for your organization to process monthly gifts.

Click here to watch this discussion between amplifi development strategist Amy Boroff and Joanne Toller of The Cause Specialist to find out more!


About the author

amplifi’s Marketing Manager, Mike Montalto, loves alliteration and has been with the company for over four years. His role involves producing and distributing educational content that helps nonprofits think differently about their fundraising approach and rise above the noise with their communications strategy. When he’s not writing about nonprofits, Mike enjoys playing bass and cheering on the New York Rangers.


About amplifi

We’re on a mission to increase the value and effectiveness of fundraising and related communications for nonprofit organizations. We believe that the nonprofit industry is about more than charity. It’s about rallying the world around causes greater than ourselves.


We equip nonprofits with the tools they need to rise above the noise and change the world.


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