How to Start a Monthly Giving Program that Gets Results

Attracting and retaining dedicated supporters has always been essential. Now more than ever, it is key to your nonprofit’s sustainability, and monthly donor programs are an often overlooked method to cultivate donor relationships and provide a source of reliable income. 

Still need a little convincing? Consider this. reports:

  • The average monthly online donation is $52 ($624 per year) compared to the average one-time gift of $128.
  • Donors who set up recurring donations give 42% more annually, compared to one-time donations.
  • 52% of Millennials are more likely to give monthly over a sizeable one-time donation.

Given the challenges all nonprofits are facing, adding a monthly donation program makes sense: it’s easier for donors to give small amounts over 12 months rather than a 1 time donation. That leads to higher annual donations and more frequent communication with your donor base.

Here is what you need to get started:

  • A nonprofit CRM to track your donors, automate sign up, and process payments.
  • A dedicated page on your website for donors to sign up for monthly donations.
  • A product or case for support to offer your donors. What does their contribution “buy”? For example, Feeding America notes that “every $1 of your monthly gift will help to provide $9 worth of food.” UNICEF gives a compelling reason for donors to give monthly: “Your monthly donation is processed automatically, helping us reduce our costs – which allows us to fund more programs and help more children.”
  • Target potential recurring givers by identifying existing donors who give more than three times in one month. Individuals that contribute at lower levels may be more interested in participating in a recurring program and giving smaller amounts.
  • Offer multiple levels of giving. Even if users start out at a small level, if the relationship is cultivated well, the amounts will rise over time. It is essential to give your monthly donors an easy way to change the amount of their donation.
  • Make them feel special. Automate thank you notes from your CRM- and change the language every 3 months. Providing routine communication to your monthly donors to show them the impact of their contributions regularly with images, stories, statistics, and other concrete examples.

Once you get started, measure your program. Of course you will want to monitor net revenues booked per month. But it’s also essential to monitor and measure key metrics with a longer view, such as:

  • Response metrics for your marketing activities. For example, knowing your open email rate and click-throughs can inform future marketing and promotional activities.
  • Number of recurring donation sign-ups per month versus one-time gifts
  • Year to year retention of one time donors versus monthly donors.

Creating a successful monthly giving program can be challenging, but by forming lasting relationships with dedicated donors that continuously support your organization, it is worth it. If you are looking for a little help, schedule a free consultation so that we can discuss your needs and possible solutions in more detail.

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Gayle Boyer and Associates, LLC