Why & How Monthly Giving Can Boost Your Nonprofit

donor attraction marketing strategy Jul 28, 2018

Imagine being able to offer your donors a way to consistently give to your nonprofit that’s easy to use, doesn’t break their budget, provides a steady flow of funds to your organization, and increases your retention rates.

Sounds like something out of a fairytale, right?

It’s not. Recurring donation (or monthly giving) programs can grow your nonprofit to new heights and take some of the fundraising pressure off you. Statistics are showing this is one of the fastest-growing segments for nonprofit development, but for some, the idea of trying to implement a monthly giving program can seem a little complicated - maybe even intimidating.

It doesn’t have to be, and this article will help take you through the why and how of setting one up and maximizing the results.

To start - what is a recurring or monthly giving program? Exactly what it says - a technique for fundraising that encourages your donors to give multiple times a year instead of asking for a larger one-time gift.

What difference does this really make for your organization? According to the nonprofit gurus at M+R Benchmarks, a lot. Their latest report says that monthly revenue increased by 24% across the board compared to one time givers, which grew by 18%. It accounted for 14% of all online revenue in 2016, and 16% in 2017.

There are many untapped benefits that come with having a recurring giving platform, and trust me it’s worth the small investment because...

  • It gives you a dependable and steady flow of money
  • It engages your donors year-round
  • It leaves your organization at the top of your donors’ minds
  • It increases your donor retention (that $15 or $20 monthly gift just starts to become part of their monthly budget, year after year)

Interestingly, studies say you’ll probably make more money than from an individual donor with a monthly approach, which makes sense. I might not have it in my budget to give your organization the suggested $150 when you approach me for your big annual fundraiser. But $15 a month? I can do that! (Which means that after 12 months, I’ve actually given your organization $30 more than what you originally asked for).

There are platforms available that will get you started and help manage your monthly giving program.

  • Offers a free option that takes 5% of each donation and gives you one branded page, a $45/month plan with a 2% charge on every donation as well as unlimited branded pages (great if you want to segment based on different initiatives your nonprofit has). If you want a lot of customization, that comes at a steeper price of $139/month with the 2% charge on every donation.
  • No monthly fee, but they charge a 5% fee on every donation well as a 2.9% processing fee. Just Give offers you full access to all of your fundraising data and offers specialized support especially for smaller nonprofits. They also are constantly creating new fundraising tools and technologies that they give you access to free of charge.
  • QGive has a range of plans from $0-$199/month and offer a wealth of options when it comes to customizing your plans. They offer mobile friendly giving, training interactive reports and dashboards. They charge a 3.95% + $0.30 fee on all donations.
  • Classy offers a wide range of support and options for different types of fundraising in their new Fundraising Suite. Each product is customized to the needs of your organization, so there’s no average fee or cost; however, they have a friendly chat line where they can help you map it out.

Once you choose a platform, the next step is a powerful launch for your monthly giving initiative. Some key things to keep in mind are:

  • Establish a goal (even if you plan to use monthly giving after that goal is reached). The idea here is to have your marketing focus on an achievable goal for donors. It also gives you an excuse for reaching out again because you’ll want to periodically report on how the campaign is progressing.
  • Know your target donor inside and out. Truly understanding the audience you want to reach will help you create a campaign that speaks directly to them and motivate them to support you.
  • Share compelling stories. When you share success stories, they inspire giving (particularly at that manageable monthly rate).
  • Be sure to have a donate/give button available at first glance on your email communications, your social media posts and your website. I think  does an amazing job with its donation call-to-action; it’s a floating button over their main graphic on every page that shows one-time or monthly giving options.
  • Make sure your campaign for monthly donors is a year-round effort. You can create recurring giving campaigns that are specific to a month or event, but there should also be an overarching campaign that you can refer to throughout the year.
  • Position the monthly gift as something relatable. Your donors are paying for a lot more things monthly than they used to. Before it was rent, insurance and utilities. Now there are monthly subscriptions to movies; music; even gaming sites. Remind them how easy it is to budget $____ a month to help with your cause. But then also show the annual impact. For example: “With your donation of $____ a month, you will be able to provide XYZ for ___ for a whole year”
  • Remember to thank your donors early and often. They are the backbone of your work and their generous hearts are the reason you are where you are today. Thank them for their financial support, for their time and effort, and let them know they aren’t just a figure in a ledger for you and your team. You might want to highlight your mega-monthly donors by a feature or special shoutout.

Monthly or recurring donation platforms are an amazing way of not only engaging your donors year round, but also increasing the donations you raise throughout the year. It will provide the security of a reliable, steady flow of funds and gives you more time to focus on bringing in new donors and growing your small (yet mighty) nonprofit.