After reading this excellent post about How to Keep Your Monthly Donors by colleague Erica Waasdorp I was reminded of my frustrations with monthly giving donor stewardship. So, before I share 5 tips to stop ignoring your monthly donors, let’s take a look at the numbers.
Network for Good reports that your average recurring donor gives 42% more than your one-time donors.
Who’s giving monthly?*
• 40% of Millennial donors are enrolled in a monthly giving program
• 49% of Gen X donors are enrolled in a monthly giving program
• 49% of Baby Boomer donors are enrolled in a monthly giving program
With all this positive activity there’s cause for celebration, right?
Here’s my concern: Monthly giving programs are launched, donors start giving, AND often they become invisible.
Meaningful relationships don’t get built. Nonprofits begin to “expect” recurring gifts from these donors — instead of treating them like the special supporters they are.
In our household we’ve had two experiences that caused the cancellation of our monthly gifts. In both cases the gifts were $50 or more. Reasons for our cancellation: Staffing changes that led to being ignored and the expectation our monthly amount be increased — just because.
In addition to building your quantity of monthly donors, what if you cause them to have the “ultimate donor experience?”
5 Tips to Stop Ignoring Your Monthly Donors
1. Make certain you have automated welcome messages that feel personal.
2. Occasionally, send a “personal message” via email, text, or social media with a photo of someone’s life that’s been affected by their gift.
Get permission first, of course. Knowing how your donors want to be recognized and communicated with isn’t just important at the major gift level.
3. Occasional thank you emails, texts, or calls [voice mail is fine!] just to the monthly donor saying, “hey, I noticed you’ve been giving monthly and we appreciate you.”
How often? My spouse says, for him, once or twice a year is plenty. If you are uncertain, ask them. Don’t assume how often.
4. Keep track of milestones and recognize them for EACH recurring donor.
This means you have to have a system. You’ll need a database + someone paying attention to your data.
Possible milestones to recognize:
• Your contributions just reached the point of funding an entire ____ for someone like 10-year old Harry.
• You’ve been giving for 6-months! A year! Two years!
• Thank you for being our first, 10th, 100th, monthly donor!
5. Overall: Make it feel like a meaningful experience to make recurring gifts.
This doesn’t mean going overboard or taxing your team. Think of ways to give shout outs at events, asterisk their names on your annual report, have board members walk up to them and thank them at gatherings, make their name tag stand out, or something silly and fun if you choose.
Here are two upcoming webinar to receive live training from Lori:
How to Use Stories for Writing Your Grant Proposal hosted by Grant Station
What’s Your Money Story hosted by One Cause