How to Ask for Monthly Gifts at Your Gala Event

Posted by on Feb 3, 2018 in Case Studies, General Interest, NonProfit Pro Today, Recurring giving |

A colleague consultant asked me this question last week, and I was discussing this very same thing with another organization myself. Great timing! A nonprofit in the process of launching its monthly donor program has its annual gala coming up this spring. It’s a fancy event—heavy hors d’oeuvres, silent and live auction, including a “fund-a-need” focused on something they need for their program. Donors typically pay $100 to $150 for a...

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How Do You Manage a Large Sustainer Program?

Posted by on Jan 28, 2018 in Case Studies, NonProfit Pro Today, Recurring giving |

Last week, NonProfit PRO organized a webinar called “Effectively Managing a Monthly Giving Program that Exceeds the Thousand-Sustainer Mark,” sponsored by CharityEngine. The organization featured was the Wounded Warrior Project, and the focus was on how they acquired sustainers and then managed those sustainers (the back-end). It was exciting to hear from such a big organization, and it brought me back to my days of managing a large sustainer...

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Get Rid of Silos for Your (Monthly) Donor’s Sake!

Posted by on Jan 24, 2018 in Case Studies, General Interest, NonProfit Pro Today, Recurring giving |

Hard to believe, but it’s been almost 25 years since I became a fundraiser, working for a large nonprofit, managing its monthly donor program. At the time, the development department consisted of someone responsible for donor appeals, another for acquisition of new donors and someone for major donors. Everybody was responsible to raise a certain amount a year. In those days, monthly donors “touched” the other departments, as we were only...

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Is Your Monthly Donor Tax-Letter Ready?

Posted by on Jan 20, 2018 in Case Studies, Direct Mail, General Interest, NonProfit Pro Today, Recurring giving |

Now you’re in the middle of evaluating your appeal results, it’s up to you to make sure that the donor feels good about their giving experience—no matter what the amount. I recommend pulling in some extra people, volunteers and board members to make thank-you phone calls. Put some extra effort into sending out the thank-you letters pronto. And make sure you’re ready to send out tax letters well before the end of the month. If you’ve been...

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Organize a Process Review to Improve Your Donor Retention

Posted by on Dec 19, 2017 in Case Studies, General Interest, Recurring giving |

As a fundraiser and donor relations professional, you work hard every day to make sure your donors feel important. You know like no other that all donors need to feel appreciated, no matter how much they give or how often they donate to your organization. That’s why I’m still amazed at how difficult this seems to be, especially as organizations grow. Especially if there are multiple “cooks in the kitchen.” Often decisions are made...

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Say ‘Thank You,’ Why Don’t You?

Posted by on Dec 16, 2017 in Case Studies, General Interest |

A few weeks ago, I shared how I made 20 online donations on Black Friday. For some, this was a repeat donation; for others, it was my first. Of course, all organizations sent me an auto-responder message and a “thank you” email message. So far, so good. But, I’m very disappointed in what came after that. Why? In 65 percent of the organizations, there was a big nothing. As of Saturday’s mail (16 days later), I have only received five “thank you”...

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It’s Time to Call Your Organization

Posted by on Nov 6, 2017 in Case Studies, NonProfit Pro Today, Recurring giving |

P I just came back from the International Fundraising Congress, which was held last week in Noordwijkerhout, Netherlands. It’s always a great time to visit my family who live near the German and Belgian border in the south. I was able to attend a great session on donor love with Jen Love of Agents of Good and Simon Scriver. I’d heard of them, but now I actually got to meet them—pretty neat! The session includes lots of great tips and examples...

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What’s Your Techie’s Answer When It Comes to Monthly Donors?

Posted by on Oct 31, 2017 in Case Studies, NonProfit Pro Today, Recurring giving |

F I typically write posts that are aimed at any-sized organization. Today’s piece is initially more aimed at large organizations. Let me share this story with you. When I worked at a big animal welfare organization with a huge donor base, we had several wonderful people in our “systems support/technology/IT” department. As manager of monthly giving, I had to have regular meetings with these great “techies.” (Note: I absolutely mean this in the...

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Why Don’t You Start Asking Monthly Donors for Bequests?

Posted by on Oct 29, 2017 in Case Studies, Legacies and Bequests, NonProfit Pro Today, Recurring giving |

I’m touching down in Amsterdam to attend the International Fundraising Congress in Noordwijkerhout, Netherlands. One of this year’s speakers is Richard Radcliffe. He’s not only a funny, energetic and entertaining presenter, but he’s also one of the most admired experts when it comes to legacy fundraising. In the U.K., because of the way wills are recorded, they’re able to do a ton of legacy fundraising research. When I asked him how monthly...

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Let’s Say ‘No’ to Automatic Sustainer Upgrades

Posted by on Aug 24, 2017 in Case Studies, NonProfit Pro Today, Recurring giving |

Previously posted by NonProfitPRO Today on August 14 At the recent Bridge Conference, I enjoyed several wonderful sustainer sessions. During one of those, someone asked about the automatic sustainer upgrade process some nonprofits are apparently using. My hair immediately started standing up straight! What happened to being donor-centric? Automatic sustainer upgrades are really all about the nonprofit, but frankly, if you’re offering this,...

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Have No Fear! Monthly Giving Help Is Near

Posted by on Aug 24, 2017 in Case Studies, NonProfit Pro Today, Recurring giving |

Originally posted by NonProfitPRO today on August 21, 2017 Over the past few months, I hope I showed you how monthly giving has become so much easier for nonprofits to organize and then actually start. That’s because so many payment processors and donor bases now have built-in tools to create giving pages, add the recurring/monthly option and capture new monthly donors without a lot of jumping through hoops. Having said this, if you’re still...

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What to Do If Your Monthly Donor Doesn’t Want to Give Online

Posted by on Aug 12, 2017 in Case Studies, NonProfit Pro Today, Recurring giving |

First posted by NonProfitPRO Today on July 31 While online giving is growing, it’s our assumption that donors are comfortable filling out their personal information into an online donation form and hitting the submit button. Then, where does that information go? For donors, that can be unnerving. They’re worried that their credit card information can get stolen. After all, the credit card abuse, even with chip, is still rampant. The first thing...

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It’s Prime Hurricane Month: Monthly Donors to the Rescue!

Posted by on Aug 10, 2017 in Case Studies, NonProfit Pro Today, Recurring giving |

First appeared on NonProfitPRO Today on August 7, 2017 My first experience with a hurricane came in August of 1991, when “Bob” hit Cape Cod. I was actually still in the Netherlands, but I watched video of my then future in-laws wade through chest-high water near their beach house. Power was out for many days. Life came to a screeching halt. Other hurricanes followed later:  Andrew, Katrina, Sandy just to name a few. As a Red Cross PR volunteer,...

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3 biggest reasons to jump on the monthly donor bandwagon

Posted by on Jun 14, 2017 in Case Studies, NonProfit Pro Today, Recurring giving |

This article was written for Nonprofit Pro and was first published in the April Nonprofit Pro Magazine and later on Nonprofit Pro Today. I’m a total convert on the topic of monthly donors. I’ve seen its power and how it has kept an organization going after a major disaster. I’ve seen how it generates 50 percent of an organization’s revenue. I’ve seen that even small tweaks to organizations’ communications can make a difference. The good news is...

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Should you convert members to monthly donors?

Posted by on Apr 15, 2017 in Case Studies, Recurring giving |

This post was written for and published at Nonprofit Pro. Some of the most successful (and perhaps even leading) nonprofits that are converting members to monthly donors (often called sustainers or sustaining partners) are public television and public radio stations, all over the country. They realized several years ago that moving regular members to monthly donors had several major advantages: • Members who give automatically through their...

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10 Sad Facts from a Monthly Donor Retention Check-up

Posted by on Jan 30, 2017 in Case Studies, Recurring giving |

Be forewarned, this is a sad story… but it can have a good ending! As you know from the Fundraising Effectiveness Project, based upon 2015 data, the typical donor retention rates were 46%, which is why monthly donors are so important as monthly donor retention rates are much higher. The good news is that more and more nonprofits have started a monthly donor program. And as monthly donor programs mature, upgrades, reactivations and...

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The Monthly-Donor-After-Ask…

Posted by on Nov 8, 2016 in Case Studies, General Interest, Recurring giving |

One of the neat things about the internet is that it’s really made asking for monthly donations so much easier. Especially after they’ve just done something else. There are so many success stories. Where to begin? Let’s start with your auto-responder. Say, you’re an advocacy organization and you do ask people to sign your petition. Did you know that you can use the auto-responder after they signed the petition not only...

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Who is steering your monthly giving ship?

Posted by on Oct 31, 2016 in Case Studies, Recurring giving |

This blog post was also published in Direct Marketing Advents, the publication of the Direct Marketing Association of Washington, DMAW. If you’ve seen or heard me present about monthly giving before, you know that I always recommend the following first step of running a monthly giving program: Put one person in charge! (Note, If you’re a large organization, the above guideline could be expanded to: put ONE department in charge, but it will make...

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Monthly giving Pop-ups and Do-nots

Posted by on Sep 21, 2016 in Case Studies, Recurring giving |

This blog was written for and published by Pamela Grow at Simple Development Systems  Thank you, Pamela for being a great colleague. She introduced me to the webinar phenomenon and I’ve not looked back since! So, when she sends me a question, it’s a great opportunity to give back. So, one of her clients recently asked her about Monthly giving pop-ups and how they work (or do not work) and what the negative or positive impact could...

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Monthly Donor Program is Back on Track

Posted by on Jun 21, 2016 in Case Studies, Recurring giving |

In the past year, this organization in Washington, DC had steadily started losing 500 monthly donors each month. At the same time, its acquisition efforts were only generating 250 monthly donors a month, so the program was in a steady and rapid decline. Something had to happen! The Director brought in A Direct Solution to review the program and try to turn it around. And that’s exactly what we did! One big problem in the past year was beyond...

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Youth Organization Almost Doubles Its Monthly Donor Goal With One Email Appeal

Posted by on Jun 16, 2016 in Case Studies, Recurring giving |

This youth organization in Colorado reached out to A Direct Solution to ask for help with its first email appeal asking its donors to join their newly developed recurring donor program. Our first recommendation was to develop a special targeted page so we could link the email directly to this page. Our second recommendation was to find a donor to provide a challenge gift.The organization found a generous donor who was willing to put up a $5,000...

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Organization Makes Money on New Donor Acquisition Campaign

Posted by on Jun 10, 2016 in Annual appeals, Case Studies |

When A Direct Solution started working with this organization, serving individuals with disabilities, the organization had some 5,500 donors. It had historically mailed two direct mail appeals a year and two hard copy newsletters. Then the organization hired a new Director of Development. With a small staff, she was tasked to considerably grow the donor base and its fundraising budget. A Direct Solution was hired to help accomplish this. We...

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Monthly giving in 8 EASY steps

Posted by on May 9, 2016 in Case Studies, Recurring giving |

Monthly giving now is EASIER to set up than it’s ever been! I’ve been managing monthly giving programs for a very long time! (for more than 2 decades!). We started by using direct mail and telemarketing. DRTV and face-to-face were still in its infancy when it came to monthly donors . And can you believe it, email appeals did not exist!! Nobody had heard of i-phones, mobile giving or social media. Up to just a few years ago, it was much...

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How can Nana Murphy make you a better fundraising professional?

Posted by on May 3, 2016 in Annual appeals, Case Studies, Direct Mail |

This post was prepared as a guest blog for Michael Rosen.  How can Nana Murphy make you a better fundraising professional? This is a post based upon the session I attended at the recent AFP International conference in Boston. Thank you, Michael, for sharing this post with your audience. The session I attended was called: From Ireland with Love, presented by Denisa Casement, CFRE, Head of Fundraising, Merchants Quay Ireland, Dublin,  Lisa...

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Case study: Who is responsible for YOUR monthly giving program?

Posted by on Apr 19, 2016 in Annual appeals, Case Studies, Recurring giving |

If you’ve seen or heard me present, you know that I stress the importance of making one person responsible for your monthly donor program, no matter what size the organization is! As you’re the fundraiser, this is most likely going to be YOU. Now, that does not mean that you have to do everything but it’s absolutely ESSENTIAL that one person oversees all of the moving parts and is held accountable. That sounds like a huge...

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Monthly donors give 42% more money than other donors!

Posted by on Oct 20, 2015 in Case Studies, Recurring giving |

Did you know that monthly donors give 42% more than one time donors? And that 64% of donations come from women? Here’s an interesting infographic  by Maximillion, thank you Linda Parker for sending it to me! I’d love sharing this with you because bosses and boards still like to see those statistics before making the decision to move forward.  It’s important to realize these statistics and take action. And it’s important...

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The Two Biggest Monthly Giving Mistakes Nonprofits Make

Posted by on Sep 14, 2015 in Case Studies, Recurring giving |

This was published as a guest blog for  AndrewOlsenCFRE  who is launching a new series focused on the biggest fundraising mistakes nonprofits make. To kick off this series, I asked my friend Erica Waasdorp, author of Monthly Giving. The Sleeping Giant to share her thoughts on the biggest mistakes nonprofits make when it comes to monthly giving. Her guest post is below:   “I see nonprofits make two major mistakes that really prevent them...

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Top 3 Take-aways from Ring, Ring, Retention Tool Session at Bridge…

Posted by on Jul 14, 2015 in Annual appeals, Case Studies, Recurring giving |

Here are the Top 3 take-aways from Ring, Ring, what’s that retention tool doing in my living room? session At the recent Bridge Conference, held in Washington DC National Harbor, I presented a session with Nick Stavarz, Synergy and Anna Averling of the American Bible Society on the use of the phone in improving donor retention. Here are the top 3 take-aways from this session: 1. Telemarketing is one of the most successful and versatile tools in...

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What metrics will convince your board to start a monthly giving program?

Posted by on Jun 29, 2015 in Case Studies, Recurring giving |

This post appeared as a guest post for DonorPerfect What metrics will convince your board to start a monthly giving program? If you’re like a lot of organizations, boards (and sometimes other bosses) drag their feet on starting a monthly giving program. They worry that the metrics are not compelling enough to warrant investing the time, money and people. After all, monthly donors are just small donors, right? Yes, but here’s the great news: the...

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Fire yourself if you don’t promote monthly giving

Posted by on May 16, 2015 in Case Studies, Recurring giving |

This was just published as a guest blog in Tom Ahern’s email newsletter… Thank you Tom. I am deeply humbled. In nonprofit labor relations news… You’re fired until you have a solid monthly giving program launched… Do the easy math. Then get to work. Cash gifts are a drink of water. Monthly giving is a forever spring flowing 5 times faster. Two names mean “monthly giving expert/guru/evangelist” amongst...

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