Originally posted on NonprofitPro Today, July 3, 2017

My husband introduced me to the series, “Lost in Space” many years ago. Growing up in Holland, I had never heard of it, but it’s a wonderful show. (This was before Star Trek, of course.)

So, why am I bringing up this series? Because it’s what I think about monthly donors and crowdfunding.

Yes, there’s a place for it. It works for many groups and organizations. And there are many companies offering crowdfunding “services and support.”

Some have started offering the options for monthly donations using their crowdfunding platform. This is where I must ask you to think twice!

Or as Robot would say in “Lost in Space”: “Danger, Danger, Will Robinson!!”

In other words: Caution!  I highly recommend that you direct any potential monthly donors to your own website and your own monthly donor page. That way, it integrates with your system. The donor receives your thank-you messages. You’ll be able to send a hard copy thank you letter right away, and you are in control of the processes affecting these monthly donors.

You’ll know if they drop out for some reason. You’ll know if their card expires or changes. You’ll be able to contact them to get their updated information, and if you have your account updater process set up, they will be part of that.

But, within the crowdfunding platform, you have absolutely no control on what happens with monthly donors. In fact, in some cases, you’re not even allowed to approach them yourself. Sometimes you don’t even get all of their information. And typically the credit card fees are much higher than in your own system.

And let’s think about this from the donor’s point of view. He or she doesn’t know there’s a crowdfunding company in the mix. They think they’re supporting you, the organization, directly with their monthly gift. They think you know that they give monthly.

So, what do you think happens when you approach them about giving monthly if they’ve already done this through the crowdfunding platform and you don’t know about that?

Doesn’t give the donor a warm/fuzzy feeling and it makes your organization look pretty bad, right?

So, unless you want your monthly donors to get “Lost in Space,” leave crowdfunding for one-time donations and use your own channels with a direct link to your own donation pages for monthly giving.