One of the critical metrics any nonprofit should keep an eye on is lifetime donor value. Lifetime value refers to the total value any donor contributes to your organization, from the beginning of their involvement with your nonprofit to the end.
Naturally, you would want each donor’s lifetime value to be high, and it is commonly understood that it is cheaper to retain existing donors than to find new ones for more donations. The best way to keep donors around is to make sure their needs are met, and they are satisfied.
One way to do this is to integrate a monthly donation program into your nonprofit strategy.
What are Monthly Donations?
Monthly donations are precisely what they sound like – donations that you receive monthly.
In the past, before online donations entered the scene, recurring monthly donations was a difficult job – not just for the donors, but also for the nonprofits. Getting the donors to commit to giving regularly was tedious, since it had to happen over the phone or through direct mail, and making sure that donors followed through were an even bigger task.
For this reason, many organizations shied away from the option of monthly giving and focused instead on securing one-time gifts from as many supporters as possible. Even now, many organizations don’t have a monthly giving program set up.
However, with transactions becoming easier over the internet, monthly donations are becoming more and more popular. The process behind it is simple:
- Donors can register for a monthly donation program.
- They choose the amount they would like to donate each month.
- Every month, this amount is transferred to the nonprofit without the donor having to do anything at all.
Recurring donations exist in many different forms and even frequencies. Some nonprofits have bi-monthly, quarterly, and even annual donation programs, but the most common and most popular type is monthly giving.
What Do You Need To Set Up A Successful Monthly Giving Program?
Setting up a monthly giving program is not as tiresome as it used to be. There has been a dramatic change in the way communications take place between individuals and organizations, and we’ve moved on from telephone conversations and direct mail.
Of course, you’d need to get your donors to agree to make monthly donations. There’s no need for long phone calls or letters anymore. All you have to do is set up a page on your website where your donors can fill out their information and get registered to your giving program without you having to do anything.
You’d need to set up an account for the money to be transferred into. You can use direct online banking services that many institutions offer or a third-party service, such as PayPal. Ideally, your donation form should have the option to allow your donors to make their donations recurring from the very beginning, rather than having to prompt them to do so later separately.
If you’re setting up a recurring donation program, you should ideally allow your donors to pick what intervals they would like to donate at, so that they can choose based on their own convenience. However, to encourage frequent donations, many nonprofits choose to have only monthly donations as an option.
This isn’t the only kind of personalization you can offer, though. You can allow your donors to choose what amount they would like to donate by setting up contribution tiers that your donors can choose from as well as the option to update their personal information in case of any changes. Giving your donors the option to select how long they want to continue making donations can also be helpful.
Setting up a system to send out notifications every time a donation is made can be very beneficial. With this system, you will be able to keep yourself updated with the flow of revenue into your nonprofit. Besides this, your donors will also receive updates on each time a donation is made from their account, and they will be able to keep track of where their money is going. Notifications can also help in cases of failed donations or any errors that you or your donors would want to be aware of.
How to Implement a Monthly Giving Program
Now you know what you need to set up your monthly giving program, but how do you implement it?
Educating Team Members
The first thing you need to do is to make sure that everyone in the team understands how your donation system and the transfer of money will take place through EFT. Making sure that all members of your organization are up to date on the procedures will allow you to be able to handle any issues that arise since everyone will be educated on the process.
Develop Solicitation Methods
Once you’ve set up your donation form and ETF, you want people to know about your nonprofit and your recurring giving program. The most effective method of bringing in new donors is to show the impact that your organization has made in the past and to be transparent about what you want to achieve in the future and how. You can also send in emails and flyers to existing donors to let them know that you have set up a monthly donation program which can make their donations easier for them as well.
Ensure the Presence of Technology
In this day and age, perhaps the most critical tool you need to create and maintain a recurring giving program is to have the right technology to allow your processes to run smoothly. This includes an ETF and credit card transaction processing system that can transfer the funds for you. It also consists of a donor management system that handles the information of all the donors you have as well as prospects, which can also track all your giving history and help you with your accounting and reporting as well.
Benefits of a Monthly Giving Program
Often, fundraising campaigns run into problems when you least expect it. Since your organization technically runs almost entirely on contribution income, you need to be able to secure a steady source of revenue for your nonprofit to allow it to function sustainably. Therefore, a recurring giving program should be a priority for you to be able to increase your organization’s efficiency.
Monthly programs have the potential to increase your overall contribution revenue over a year. It also has the potential to reassure you that your future income is also secured. After all, it is much easier to retain donors you already have than to go out looking for new ones.
Besides, monthly donors give about 42% more than one-time donors do annually and can add more value to your organization than one-time donors. And yet, that’s not all!
The good thing about monthly donations is that it’s not a one-sided benefit, but both the organization and the donors can see advantages in giving monthly.
Benefits for the Organization
Instead of having to ask donors to give every month, these programs mean that the donations become automated. You don’t have to do anything to make your donors donate and can then spend more time looking into making appeals to new donors and finding new leads.
By allowing you to look for new donors, recurring giving programs do expand your audience. However, recurring programs also allow you to appeal to younger audiences who may not have as much money to make large donations but would like to contribute to the benefit of society. For these young donors, it is easy for them to make smaller donations over more extended periods than to make one big donation at once.
Increases Total Contribution Revenue
Having a well-thought-out strategy for your monthly giving can have a significant impact on your organization. Monthly giving revenue has a 23% increase for nonprofits, where one-time giving has 13% since multiple smaller donations can equate to a much more significant sum than a large gift made once. For example, giving $10 every month for a year would result in a $120 total donation, which is a more considerable amount than giving say, $100 once.
Is a Steady Revenue Source
By setting up a recurring giving program, you can be sure that your organization will be earning some contribution income at monthly intervals. Fundraisers are not always as successful as you’d hope for them to be, and you cannot hold fundraising events every month either. As such, with a monthly giving program, you can rest assured that you will be bringing in some money to keep your organization running. This way, you can plan better for any future activities that your nonprofit organization may want to partake in.
Skyrocket Your Monthly Donor Acquisition
Since monthly programs take such a structured approach and don’t come with the pressure of high expectations, donors are more likely to opt for smaller monthly donations as compared to larger one-time ones. The number of new donors every month can be significantly larger than what it would be if you were not operating a monthly giving program.
Never Lose Donors With GivingLoop Revive
Givingloop’s Revive technology allows you to send out kind and respectful reminders to those who have stopped giving – for any reason, from credit card expiration to cancelation – and make sure that you recover as many donors as you can.
Benefits for Donors
Just like it saves time for organizations, monthly giving programs also save time for donors, who may be busy with their lives and do not have time to make each donation manually every month. With the automation of bill payments and the transfer of money, making donations no longer requires any tedious activity, such as heading out to give cash or checks to the organization. The convenience makes it more appealing to those who want to give back to society without having to take out too much time from their schedules for it.
Because these monthly donations occur at fixed time intervals, it is easier for donors to spread out their costs over a specific time to make them more tolerable for their budget, and hence, plan accordingly. When donors know that they will be donating a certain amount every month, they can factor these into their planning to allow their finances to run smoothly.
Provide Monthly Reports
It is easier to track where your money goes when you give regularly and particularly more so when the donation is made online. Donors can retrieve their donation receipts in one place – most likely over email – where they can access them whenever they like easily. These monthly reports will help them keep track of their donations so that they can apply for tax deductions at the end of the year as well.
Monthly Donations: A Factor of Growth & Organizational Change
Recurring donations have more than just a role to play in easing out an organization’s finances. For many organizations, the continuous ongoing battle is between increasing reach and increasing funds, both of which are vital in achieving its mission. This is where recurring donations play their most prominent role.
Recurring donations become a great way to not only expand an organization financially but also in terms of its donor pool and projects.
It is human nature to feel some level of pride in doing something for others, and the larger that gift is, the more pride that comes with it. However, not everyone is capable of giving so much, and recurring donations help in establishing the middle ground. It allows those with higher donation capacity and lesser donation capacity to come together to support a cause that is important to both. The way you brand your giving program can take your organization a long way if it makes your donors feel important. This way, you get to increase your donor pool.
With a larger donor pool, of course, you get to bring in more revenue. At the end of the day, a nonprofit is working towards a cause, and the job doesn’t end with fundraising. When there is a greater amount of predictable revenue, organizations can take greater steps and plan projects on a larger scale that will help them work towards eradicating problems and making a difference.
As such, when running a nonprofit which holds a long-term vision of change and improvement, you must focus on your monthly donation programs. Take the initiative to help such programs grow so that you can help your organization do the same.