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How to Launch a Successful Monthly Giving Program

How to Launch a Successful Monthly Giving Program

If you’re anything like me, you’re willing to pay a little bit of money to make your life a lot easier.

Like most millennials, I have a Netflix subscription, I’m a proud Costco member, and have multiple products delivered to my doorstep simply to reduce the mental load of remembering I’m almost out of dish soap.

The subscription economy is booming – and the model is a win-win. I don’t have to remember dish soap, and amazon can count on my $14.67 every month.

Think of monthly donor programs like a country club membership, but instead of unlimited access to the pool and golf course, donors get to become philanthropists for a cause they care about.

Every month, they can feel good knowing their money is making an impact.

I’m all about data-driven decisions, so let’s look at the stats.

Why invest in a monthly donor program:

  1. Last year, revenue from monthly giving increased by 6%, and accounted for 31% of all online revenue.
  2. Online monthly donation options have increased recurring revenue by 40%
  3. Monthly donors give 42% more than one-time donors.  
  4. Donors who gave repeatedly in 2023 had the highest retention rate of 87%

Before you slap “monthly” as an option on your donation form and hope for the best, I want to talk about what makes a good monthly donor program. It should be a well thought out strategy, like any other campaign you’ve launched. 

5 things that make a good monthly donor program:

  • Branding: your program should have its own name, logo, and look and feel. Unlike a country club, you don’t have a pool or golf course, so having strong branding around the program is key.
  • Benefits: monthly donors should receive benefits that other donors don’t. Examples are invites to events (virtual/in person), a postcard sent home, a call/text from your CEO, cool swag, etc.
  • Exclusivity: donors should feel like they have exclusive access to you and your organization. Think about if there’s something that you can release to your monthly donors first, before it reaches the general public
  • Retention: You must be strategic in cultivating monthly donors differently. Show the impact of their monthly donations, showcase stories of how their donation is making a difference, and be thoughtful about how you include them in future fundraising campaigns.
  • Invest in a good technology: If there is any friction in the donation process you are going to have a hard time converting donors. Stick with a tool (like iDonate) that has prioritized recurring donations and built their tools with monthly donors in mind.

If you aren’t focusing on your monthly donor program, now is the time.

Email is the communication channel that consumers prefer. It plays a vital role in monthly giving programs and should be the primary way you acquire, retain, and engage monthly donors. 

How to acquire new monthly donors:

  1. Welcome Series: Implement a welcome email series for new subscribers, introducing them to your organization and its mission. This sets the stage for future asks, including monthly giving.
  2. Segmentation: Segment your email list to target specific groups, such as recent donors or engaged subscribers, with targeted monthly giving appeals.
  3. Clear and Compelling Messaging: Craft emails that clearly communicate the impact of monthly giving, highlighting the difference it makes in achieving your organization's mission.
  4. Simple and Secure Sign-up: Make it easy for donors to sign up for monthly giving by providing a simple, secure online sign-up process. Make “monthly” the default giving option, and follow up one-time gifts with the monthly upgrade option. (check out idonate)
  5. Incentives and Recognition: Offer incentives, such as exclusive updates or recognition, to encourage donors to commit to monthly giving.
  6. Social Proof: Share stories or testimonials from existing monthly donors to demonstrate the collective impact of their support.
  7. Urgency and Scarcity: Create a sense of urgency by highlighting specific projects or deadlines that require ongoing support.

Monthly donors are incredibly valuable, if you’re able to keep them. 

So while acquiring new donors is vital, retaining them is equally important.

How to retain & engage with your monthly donors:

  1. Regular Impact Reports: Send regular email updates showcasing the tangible impact of monthly donations, helping donors see the difference they're making.
  2. Personalized Communication: Address donors by name and tailor communication to their specific interests and giving history.
  3. Exclusive Content: Provide exclusive content, such as behind-the-scenes stories or videos, to make monthly donors feel valued and appreciated.
  4. Donor Spotlight: Highlight a monthly donor in a special email or social media post, recognizing their contributions and inspiring others to follow their lead.
  5. Special Requests: Occasionally ask monthly donors for special, one-time gifts to support specific projects or emergencies, demonstrating their critical role in your organization's success.
  6. Survey and Feedback: Regularly solicit feedback from monthly donors to understand their needs, concerns, and suggestions, ensuring their continued engagement.
  7. Anniversary and Milestone Recognition: Celebrate donors' monthly giving anniversaries and milestones with special emails or gifts, acknowledging their long-term commitment.

By incorporating these tactics into your email strategy, you'll be well on your way to acquiring new monthly donors and retaining existing ones, ultimately driving greater sustainability and impact for your nonprofit organization.

About KB Digital

KB Digital is a Nonprofit Email Marketing Consultancy that empowers nonprofits to amplify their impact through strategic email and SMS marketing.

About the Author

Katelyn Baughan is a passionate nonprofit email consultant dedicated to empowering organizations to harness the power of email marketing for fundraising success. With a strong background in digital fundraising, Katelyn has managed multi-million dollar campaigns for leading nonprofits, witnessing firsthand the transformative impact of strategic email communications.

Driven by her love for email marketing and its potential to inspire generosity, Katelyn founded her own consultancy, KB Digital, in 2018. This venture has allowed her to collaborate with renowned nonprofit clients such as National Geographic, The Trevor Project, UNHCR, The Cancer Research Institute, and The National Breast Cancer Foundation, while also providing the flexibility to spend more quality time with her family.

Katelyn has a B.A. in Communication from The University of Maryland and a Digital Marketing Certificate from Georgetown University. She also has certifications in email marketing from Mailchimp and Hubspot, is certified in advanced Google Analytics, Adwords, and inbound marketing from HubSpot. Through her work, Katelyn combines her passion for making a difference with her deep understanding of email marketing strategies to help nonprofits maximize their fundraising potential and achieve their missions.

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