Monthly Giving Program

Build a Monthly Giving Program

Incentivize monthly giving and increase donor retention

With 2017 underway, you may be setting goals and developing new ideas – ideas that could lead to the next pivotal initiative for your school or organization.

For many fundraising departments, this means tackling a longstanding challenge: transforming donors (or alumni) who give once or twice annually into consistent monthly contributors. The most common solution is building an effective monthly giving program. So, what will incentivize donors to give monthly?

Implement a process that is quick and easy for donors.

A monthly giving program can be automated, so donors do not have to write a check each month. Allow them to sign up online. On a day of their choosing every month, withdraw an incremental gift from the donor’s debit card, credit card or bank account. An automated monthly giving program allows contributors to “go green,” cutting down on paper, postage and other resources utilized in mailings. If your monthly giving program significantly lowers administrative costs, your benefactors should know that, too.

Reduce the intrusion of frequent requests.

Many people want to give, but don’t want to be barraged by requests. Taking part in a monthly giving program can make them feel much more comfortable. When enrolled in such a program, donors should receive significantly fewer solicitation reminders by phone, mail or email.

Offer a wide range of giving levels.

Offering different levels of giving will engage donors of all ages and economic backgrounds. Have a donor that contributes a $200 gift once annually? The same donor will likely be willing to multiply his/her contribution if granted the flexibility of 12 incremental payments.

Implementing a monthly giving program will also help you target specific segments of your potential donor base, including young supporters, donors who give less than $200 annually, donors who give three or more times per year, and lapsed donors.

Connect monthly giving to tangible outcomes.

Supporters want to know that their pledges have a positive impact. Whenever possible, you should provide examples of how a donor’s monthly gift will make a difference.

Highlight the prominent short-term and long-term projects that will benefit from donor funding. Building a new recreation center on campus? Explain how the center will serve student and community needs, and add to the campus’ appeal.

If a monthly donation of $10 allows your organization to train one volunteer, donors will be excited to hear that. If a monthly gift of $40 is equivalent to your university hosting an after school reading program for 10 local children, donors will be thrilled to know that, too. Provide your benefactors with real, compelling success stories made possible by donor funding!

Brand your monthly program and always reward donors.

We encourage you to brand your monthly giving program. Give your program a name that will foster comradery and provide the sense of elite membership. Treat donors like members of this special club.

Focus on simple, affordable ways to show appreciation to your monthly contributors. When a member first enrolls in the monthly giving program, send an acknowledgement letter or a thank you postcard. Throughout the year, send branded mugs, umbrellas, or other useful items. Get creative with exclusive member offers such as discounts to events hosted by your organization. Appreciation will go a long way in retaining your monthly giving program members.

Plan sufficiently to make your new monthly giving program a success.

Developing a new monthly giving program will require time and effort. You will need the right software to best identify and manage potential monthly donors. You will also need to designate staff to establish appropriate monthly giving levels, communicate with donors and plan reward distribution. Finally, you will need patience. It may take time for your new program to truly thrive, but if well executed, it will have an astounding long-term impact on your fundraising efforts.

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BCG Staff Writer