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Monthly Giving - Why it's Needed and How to Get Started

Monthly Giving has long been hailed by fundraising professionals as one of the most valuable tools in helping organizations build a reliable source of monthly revenue. Now, more so than ever, during the COVID19 pandemic, a monthly giving program could not only help an organization’s fundraising but also help keep them afloat in the coming months. Read below to find out 5 reasons we recommend developing and instituting a monthly giving program and 5 tips for making your monthly giving program a success.

1. Monthly Giving Builds a Reliable Income

Growing a monthly giving program takes devotion and time but can produce great rewards. It provides nonprofit organizations with a near-guaranteed amount of monthly income which can provide stability and allow for fewer fundraising headaches. The income generated from monthly giving programs becomes passive after the initial establishment of the program. Additionally, once the perimeters of donor interaction and appreciation are set up, the program can run like a well-oiled machine with a big return on investment.

2. Monthly Giving is Friendly to All Budgets

Many organizations have supporters who are passionate about their mission and might like to be more involved but may be reluctant to give big due to their finances. A wonderful way to create an inclusive atmosphere for this type of supporter is a monthly giving program that allows donors to determine what sort of monthly gift they are comfortable with. Additionally, monthly giving can assist in engaging younger people who might not have a ton of disposable income currently but whose finances are likely to grow in the coming years. Essentially monthly giving programs allow any person, regardless of financial situation, the opportunity to participate in the mission in a meaningful way. This is an important step a nonprofit can take to keep donors engaged during this time of financial insecurity.

3. Monthly Giving Installs a Sense of Community

Donors are the heroes of every organization, after all, their generosity makes the mission possible. The Nonprofit Recurring Giving Benchmark Study for 2019 showed that monthly givers have a donor retention of 90% compared to the average donor at 46%. Help create a community by engaging donors with frequent, reliable communications about the mission and its progress and by showing appreciation for their dedication often and sincerely.

4. Monthly Giving Programs can Prove an Organization a Good Steward

On occasion, donors with large capacity prefer to get to know an organization, staff, and programs before making a large investment. Monthly giving allows them to join your mission and see firsthand the difference their dollars can make. Additionally, it allows the organization the opportunity to prove they are good stewards of donor money by showing gratitude, being fiscally responsible, and also communicative with donors.

5. Monthly Giving is Convenient for Donors and Organizations

Giving should be easy for a donor and there are few things as easy as a one time sign up to make a monthly gift. A robust giving platform and solid data management will ensure as few steps as possible for both the donor and the organization. Before beginning to market your program, you will want to make sure that both are in place and that the appropriate staff members are trained well in using them.

So, What About Those Tips?

1. Set Goals and Show Progress

Setting a goal should be the first step when developing a monthly giving plan. That goal could look a few different ways. For example, you might determine that your goal is to have 500 monthly givers at a donation amount of more than $20, ensuring a monthly guaranteed income of at least $10,000. Or you might say that the goal is to reach a monthly income of $25,000, regardless of how you get there, and track progress that way. A third method of setting a monthly giving goal might be to decide that 200 monthly givers are wanted at any level.

Regardless of the goal, you will want to track and show the progress on the website and through social media as it will incentivize supporters to join the program and enhance the sense of community amongst those who have joined.

2. Identify One Employee to Manage Monthly Giving

While it will be necessary to have a team, potentially spanning multiple departments, to help establish the program, it is best to assign one person to steer the ship. Allowing one staff member ownership of the program will ensure consistency in donor communications, record keeping, marketing, and key performance indicator tracking, while ensuring accountability and easing any confusion over the workings of the program. We recommend that the contact information of this staff member is easily accessible by donors in case they have a question, want or need to change their gift amount, or would like to put their gifts on hold.

3. Brand the Program

It’s important to set the monthly program apart from other fundraising efforts and the monthly donors, who will build a sustainable monthly income, apart from one-off donors who are less likely to be retained. We recommend giving the program a memorable name, logo, and tag line or value statement, that ties in with the organization's larger mission and established brand. Consider giving the program its own page on the website where you can highlight the success and progress of the program or add statements from donors about why they choose to give monthly.

4. Show the Impact of the Program

When determining the levels donors can give by, attach meaningful and realistic impacts to each level. While you may want to allow donors to give at any level comfortable for them, devise levels beginning at the suggested lowest amount, whether it is $10 or $25, and move up from there. Attaching these amounts to real-world outcomes allow donors to understand the immediate impact their gifts have and entice potential donors to join the program.

5. Thank Monthly Donors Often

While showing gratitude to all donors should be an established practice for every nonprofit, consider some additional ways to show appreciation for monthly donors. These acts of gratitude can vary according to monthly commitment, but they should be established early and practiced regularly. Monthly email newsletters tailored to the program participants, special mailed communications and photos, even a specially organized coffee meet-up or phone call can show monthly donors that the organization recognizes their value. Each communication should give them the chance to see what progress has been made on the goal and inform them of the impact their contributions are making.

Creating a monthly giving program has so many benefits to an organization and most importantly to donors. If you have additional advice for those just getting started, we would love to hear it in the comments!

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