Setting up a monthly giving program is one of the most basic steps to take when running a nonprofit. Once you’ve managed to do that, you need to get people to join in as sustaining donors. But finding donors isn’t easy. You’ll have to ask, but asking isn’t easy either!
Here are some things to keep in mind when asking for monthly donations for nonprofits:
The Top Priority
You need to get in the habit of asking people to become monthly donors. Regardless of what platform you use – email, your website, direct mail, or even in person – when you’re asking for donations, you should ask for a monthly gift first, instead of one-time gifts.
Although it may seem like one-time donations are easier to ask for, if you keep going that way, you might not be able to secure a steady, recurring donation. Asking if the donor wants to make it a monthly gift is the equivalent of an upsale – getting the donor to give more than they were originally.
Don’t be too ambitious. Remember, small things build up. When you’re getting donations, don’t think too hard about the monthly installment – which will be small – but focus on the larger amount of the annual contribution.
When you ask for too much, you may scare your donors away. Try to appeal to your donors with a small amount that is easy to swallow and realistic, and then slowly bump the value up as time passes.
Also make sure to tailor your appeals for different segments. Donors who give much larger one-time gifts can probably afford larger monthly gifts too, so they should be presented with options that are reflective of their support.
When asking for a recurring gift, you need to give your donors a reason why they should choose to donate every month instead of just once, or whenever they want to. Describe the work you do as having a tie to the donations you receive every month, and show the specific, tangible impact.
For example, Charity Water’s monthly program called Pipeline ties an ongoing need to the solution that the monthly donation provides. By showing the donors what each monthly donation accomplishes on its own, and altogether, you can make it easy for them to understand and encourage them to donate.
Acknowledge Their Importance
All monthly programs don’t necessarily need any special branding, but if you want to give your program a unique name, make sure it is one that reflects the importance of the commitment your donors would be making. The name should focus on the impact of the donations, and not your organization.
Give your donors a special status and celebrate them in a way that makes them feel like their contributions have been indispensible, You can do this by mentioning them on your website, or have special perks for those who are involved in the program such as event tickets, etc.
When you ask for monthly donations, you need to focus on why the repeat element is so important for your donors to feel like it is the best option available to them to both, make an impact and be sustainable.