As the demand upon the nonprofit industry’s services increases, nonprofits need a steady revenue stream upon which they can rely. Although labor-intensive to establish, a monthly giving program can serve that purpose. In this blog post, we dig into three common questions about monthly giving programs.
What is a monthly giving program?
Do you subscribe to any apps or streaming services? Every month, your credit card is charged to access these services. Since you do not input your credit information each month or send a check, you may even forget that you’re subscribed. (Don’t login to your bank account to check these charges until after you’re finished reading this blog post ;)
Now, imagine your development staff focused on donor prospecting or cultivation, all the while your monthly donors send in their contributions. This structure provides development staff the space to steward your monthly donors, engage with them, and build personal relationships so that any conversation about increasing their monthly gifts is easier.
Why is monthly giving important?
Monthly giving programs provide recurring revenue, so your organization can scale, expand your services, budget, and plan. These donors are prime candidates to nurture for increased giving, board membership, peer-to-peer fundraisers, or other engagement opportunities. In case you aren’t convinced of the benefits of monthly giving, check out more advantages here.
Now, how to start a monthly giving program?
- Create a name and develop the branding.
Remember, this is a monthly subscription your donors can take pride in; therefore, your program needs a clever name and branding. This contributes to the allure of the program and entices donors to contribute, so they can be part of your organization’s inner circle.
For example: if your organization funds projects to protect local wildlife – consider a name such as the Wildlife Warriors.
- Determine donation tiers.
Provide donation amounts alongside the donation's intended output. Here are some ideas using the Wildlife Warrior example from above:
- $20/month – provides materials for one local school child to build a birdhouse
- $40/month – provides for two garden beds with native plants at a local park
- Develop and execute a communication plan.
Now that you’ve created a monthly giving campaign name and donation tiers; it's time to develop a communication plan.
First, identify where you are already communicating with your donors. How can you tout your monthly giving program within these channels?
Consider these five channels to market your monthly giving program:
- Online donation page – Your online donation page is the perfect place to highlight your monthly giving campaign. Offer both one-time or recurring giving options so as to encourage donations both big and small.
- Social media - Share any graphics or videos that highlight your monthly giving program. Ask your monthly donors to share stories discussing their reasons for becoming monthly donors and the corresponding impact upon their lives.
- Email – Include a link to join your monthly giving program within your e-newsletter. As your donors revel in your organization's good works via your email's content, they will feel drawn to donate, so make it easy for them!
- Direct mail – Include a one-line sentence mentioning the program within letters, or send extensive invitations to join.
(Consider list segmentation for both email and direct mail channels. Within your email campaign or direct mail solicitation, you can reinforce your monthly giving campaign along with a suggested gift amount that aligns with the donor’s previous gifts.)
- Corporate workplace giving – Never neglect the power of a company matching gift program. Consider the company’s match amount and how that could influence your donor’s gift.
Ultimately, a monthly giving program is all about ushering your donors to make a habit of giving. If you can provide them with a system to do so, both your organization and your donors will appreciate the long-lasting impact of these programs.