You may have read Pamela’s recent post, called The Dark side of nonprofit monthly giving.
It’s still absolutely astounding to me to see how even large organizations are struggling with this ‘no-brainer retention improving’ type of giving! Small to mid-size organizations seem to ‘get it’!
Today I’d like to focus on one bullet in Pamela’s post:
“But when you don’t love your monthly donors — when you don’t report back to them regularly on the impact of their gift, when you don’t bother to reach out to them to shower them with gratitude, when you don’t let them know how very special they are…you could end up with something even worse. Angry donors. ”
Just think about it, monthly donors via bank or credit card can retain at almost 100%. They have to take action to stop their gift.
I remember a number of years ago when I was running the monthly giving program for a large animal welfare organization (in six countries) and we saw the number of monthly donors via bank decrease. When we had looked at their cancellations, it appeared that the bulk of the donors was cancelling for financial reasons.
We were wondering if that was the real reason, so we decided to call a number of them. Boy, that was a huge eye-opener!
When we asked them why had stopped their monthly gift, the donors originally said that it was financial, but when we probed a bit more, it turned out that the real reason why they canceled was BECAUSE THEY DID NOT HEAR FROM THE ORGANIZATION!!
They told us how they had asked for information about certain animal projects; they had wanted to know more. They told us that they were expecting to be kept in the loop about our activities and they weren’t. They told us that whenever they tried calling the organization or wrote, they did not hear back. So, what this told us was two things:
1. We could not stop communicating with the donors. After all, we were doing that before and they trusted us and liked us so much that they wanted to commit through a monthly gift.
2. We had to treat them special and make sure to answer any requests for information as soon as possible. We ended up adding staff to some offices to allow for faster turnaround of letters and phone calls and we trained the staff to value these monthly donors just as much as any other donor. To treat them as they wanted to be treated.
Basically, we had to LOVE these monthly donors even more than ever!
Thanks to this small exercise (we called about 250 previous monthly donors), we were able to not only win some of them back, but also prevent further drop offs due to lack of information, due to lack of love.
And here’s another reason why this is so important: There’s research in the UK (thanks Richard Radcliffe) that shows that a monthly donor is 7 times (yes, SEVEN times) more likely to leave your organization in their will.
So, you better start LOVING monthly donors like the big and loyal donors they can be! You’ll not be disappointed!