Sometimes, finding success in the increasingly crowded fundraising landscape can feel a little bit like alchemy. A dash of this kind of messaging, a pinch of that kind of segmentation — sometimes it can seem like you’re fumbling for just the right process. One solution that provides steady success is a monthly giving program. If you haven’t embraced or invested in a monthly giving program, now’s the time. We’ve put together this handy primer on the basics of growing a successful monthly giving program.
Know Your Purpose
Determine what you want to accomplish with your monthly giving program. First and foremost, these types of programs are key ways to sustain a consistent flow of donations. That’s why members are often called “sustainers” or “recurring donors.”
But giving programs also allow you to narrow your sights on specific causes or services — which allows your donors to curate their giving experience. This increases donors’ engagement, encouraging loyalty and active participation in your organization, and in turn, provides one of the most effective donor retention strategies possible.
Build Your Audience
Your first step while developing any monthly giving program is establishing a thorough processing and reporting system. Not only does this provide a seamless process for you, but it also ensures an easy, convenient and trustworthy giving experience for your donors. Remember, you can only grow your program by growing your audience, so offering the least amount of hassle for your donors is integral to your success.
Here are a few more ways to build your audience:
- Identify the right donors to invite into your monthly giving program. Donor giving history and/or their potential to give should be considered.
- Direct your donors to a website or landing page that’s laid out simply, with donation buttons that are easy to locate. The more steps you can remove between the donor and the donation, the better.
- Make giving as convenient as possible by setting up recurring credit card donations, electronic funds transfer (EFT) or another automated system. This allows donors to give monthly without having to even think about it!
- Customize your messaging, and maximize your messaging’s effectiveness across various channels.
Show Them Why They Matter
Club. Initiative. Membership. Whatever you call your monthly giving program, remember that you’re cultivating a sense of community among your donors. Take the opportunity to show your donors why they matter to you, and how they’re specifically benefiting your cause. This is where specifics about your services — as well as testimonials or client stories — are most important. Ensure that your audience knows exactly where and how their donation is being used, and tell stories about those impacted by their donation. And whenever possible, show your donors what their gift can buy: $15 can purchase a coat for a child; $50 can provide clean water for a certain number of people. By giving your donors the tangible benefits of their membership, you’re providing a reason for them to continue giving.
Say Thank You
Each donation is vital to your operation, so let your donors know that! Set up a custom thank-you message for each first-time gift, as well periodic thank yous to be sent out to your monthly donors. Don’t let automatic receipts serve as your thank you. That’s an easy way to ruin any potential goodwill and put off donors from continued giving.
While you should definitely create both direct mail and email thank-you messages, do not discount the efficacy of a personal phone call with your donors. It’s more than just a check-in — it’s a genuine show of gratitude that assures the donors that there are humans on the receiving end of their gifts.
Successful sustained giving programs come with their own unique set of challenges, and tailored messaging can make or break your program. At Summit Marketing, we’re no strangers to the power of sustained giving. Our exclusive programs, like The Salvation Army’s Bed & Bread Club® and Daily Bread Providers Club®, represent decades of refined and diversified messaging — and more than $130 million raised over the years.
If you would like to learn more about making your monthly giving program successful, contact us. We’d love to hear from you.