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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Answering the Top 3 Monthly Donor Management Questions

Posted by on Jan 29, 2018 in General Interest, Recurring giving |

There’s been somewhat of a landslide of late when it comes to “sustainers,” also known as monthly or recurring donors. These are donors who give automatically from a credit/debit card or bank account. Have you seen these amazing recent statistics? Monthly donor retention rates: 90 percent and up (double the average donor retention rate of 45 percent!) Sixty percent of donors under 35 give monthly. The average monthly gift is $24, or $288 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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Frequently Asked Questions About Tax Letters for Monthly Donors

Posted by on Dec 26, 2017 in NonProfit Pro Today, Recurring giving |

First off, I hope that this is going to be a somewhat quiet week leading up to Christmas or other holidays you may be celebrating. I am very ready for a few quiet days catching up on my reading and my favorite Christmas movies! I’ve heard from several organizations that they are shutting their offices between Christmas and New Year’s. While this may seem a great time to do so, it’s not very donor-centric. This is when donors sit down to make...

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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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Don’t Forget to Test Before You Send

Posted by on Dec 11, 2017 in NonProfit Pro Today, Recurring giving |

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We had a great time with my family, the turkey and all the trimmings. On Black Friday, I sat down behind my computer and made donations to some 20 organizations. The same amount for each. Some I already donate to monthly, and some I only give to this time of year. To process the 20 donations, four used PayPal, and two used Stripe, NetCommunity, Donor Perfect Weblink, Classy or Network for Good. Then...

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What Would St. Nick Say?

Posted by on Dec 10, 2017 in NonProfit Pro Today, Recurring giving |

St. Nick (or Sinterklaas as we called him) was part of my tradition growing up in Holland. Dec. 5 was when we received our gifts as kids. The night before, we’d put our shoe with some straw and carrots for St. Nick’s white horse in the corner of our living room. And he and his little helper black Pete would come and drop our gifts near our shoes. Here are two links to the explanation of this tradition. here or here. As we got older, we’d draw...

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Asking for Sustainers for Gifts on Giving Days

Posted by on Nov 27, 2017 in NonProfit Pro Today, Recurring giving |

November is almost here. Many of you are probably working on your #GivingTuesday campaigns, or you may have other giving days you’re focused on. And of course everybody is on board with sending out several emails in the month of December. The question always comes up: Should we ask for monthly donors in our giving day emails and social media messaging? Well, if it were up to me, I’d say: Yes, absolutely! Try to get as many sustainers as 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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How Will You Engage Your Monthly Donors This Fall?

Posted by on Oct 7, 2017 in Direct Mail, General Interest, NonProfit Pro Today |

This question comes up regularly, but especially now, as nonprofits are starting to prepare their fall and year-end appeals. Should you or should you not ask your monthly donors for money? The answer is a resounding YES. As in YES, you should absolutely ask your monthly donors for money at this time of year. Unless the donor told you that he or she doesn’t want to hear from you, now is the time to engage and ask for a special or extra gift. If...

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Can Transactional Donors Become Monthly Donors?

Posted by on Sep 25, 2017 in General Interest, NonProfit Pro Today |

Originally posted in NonProfitPro Today on September 5, 2017 First of all, let me add my thoughts and prayers to those who lost their home and everything else after Hurricane Harvey. And I know we’re not out of the woods yet, with other storms coming near. Fortunately, there are many wonderful experienced organizations on the ground to help the victims. And, of course, fundraising activities have ramped up. People are literally walking in the...

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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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Do Monthly Donors Come Easier to Local or National Organizations?

Posted by on Jul 23, 2017 in NonProfit Pro Today, Recurring giving |

Originally posted on NonProfitPRO Today, July 10, 2017 Whenever I do a webinar on monthly donors, I am always happy to follow up to provide answers to questions that may have gone unanswered during the short time we were “webinaring” together. One of the questions that came up was:  Is generating monthly donors more difficult for a local nonprofit, compared to a larger national organization? The best answer is: You will not know...

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How long does it take to set up a monthly donor program from soup to nuts?

Posted by on Jun 6, 2017 in Charity How To, Recurring giving |

This post was written for and first posted at Charity How To The answer is: if you focus on it, you should be able to be up and running within a week. I realize that development people in small to mid-size organizations especially are always pulled in multiple directions and distractions are easy. That’s why I recommend you don’t launch the program until you have thought through and put in place the basics. But with a little bit of focus that...

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How many monthly donors can you expect?

Posted by on Jun 4, 2017 in NonProfit Pro Today, Recurring giving |

This was first published on Nonprofit Pro How many monthly donors can you expect? That was one of the questions someone asked of me after a recent webinar. That is the $64 million question, isn’t it? The answer may surprise you, because it differs by organization size and organization’s motivation to grow its monthly donors. For example, I was speaking with a group the other day, and they have less than 300 donors to work with. They set a goal...

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When Should You Give Up on a Lapsed Monthly Donor?

Posted by on May 30, 2017 in Recurring giving |

 posted April 27, 2017 NonProfit PRO Today And the answer is: NOT ANYTIME SOON! A year or so ago, I joined 20 organizations with a monthly gift. And (sneaky me), I gave them a card that was going to expire a month later. I then tracked what organizations did in terms of “thank you” letters and actions to try to get me back. In the next two months, only two organizations picked up the phone and called me! The rest sent me emails and left it at...

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Is an Auto-Responder Message Enough Recognition for a New Monthly Donor?

Posted by on May 26, 2017 in NonProfit Pro Today, Recurring giving |

Originally posted in NonProfit Pro  What’s the monthly donor experience when he or she fills in the online donation form and clicks the button to submit? In virtually all online donation platforms, it’s a two-step process. The minute the donor hits submit, he or she gets an auto-responder message, confirming that wonderful monthly gift. Then, secondly, an email is sent to the monthly donor confirming that gift again. In many online donation...

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You Can Convert Monthly Donors From Credit Cards to Automatic Bank Withdrawals

Posted by on Apr 22, 2017 in Recurring giving |

A few weeks ago, NonProfit Pro shared an interesting NACHA case study on the long-term retention of those donors who give automatically through their bank account, also called EFT, Direct Debit, Direct Payment via ACH or automatic bank withdrawal. (Note, for the rest of this post, I’ll refer to this as EFT.) So you may say, “Why is this important if we only offer monthly donors via credit or debit card now?” The answer is because if you can...

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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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Poke the Monthly Donor Box…

Posted by on Apr 10, 2017 in Recurring giving |

I just finished Seth Godin’s book, “Poke the Box.” As always, it’s terrific, short and to the point. It really got me thinking: Godin tells us to have the initiative to start. Turn fear into action because the consequence of doing nothing is much scarier and is certainly going to raise less money! It seems to me that this approach should be applied especially to monthly donors. There seems to be a fear of starting, and it prevents organizations...

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Treat your monthly donor as your best friend …

Posted by on Apr 3, 2017 in Recurring giving |

If you’re an organization that has had monthly donors for a while, you’ll know that some of your monthly donors can and will stay with you for decades! Of course that in part depends on their age when joining. Typically, I’m seeing that those donors continue to give monthly for 5 years to 7 years. That’s great news, isn’t it? If you treat your monthly donors like your best friends, the news will get even better! Because these “small” donors...

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What’s the best amount to ask for in monthly giving?

Posted by on Mar 18, 2017 in Recurring giving |

This week’s #MonthlyDonorMonday tip is focused on the best amount to ask for in monthly giving. One of the attendees of my webinar last week sent me a follow up question and I know it comes up a lot. What’s the best amount to ask for in monthly giving can really be broken into two additional questions: Should you ask for odd or even amount?  For example; does $9 work better than $10? What’s the lowest amount you can ask for?...

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To ask for one-time gifts or monthly gifts… That’s the question!

Posted by on Mar 5, 2017 in Recurring giving |

This post first appeared on the Donor Perfect blog. Many nonprofits struggle with the decision to make the move and ask for monthly gifts. Here’s what I hear from organizations when I ask them about their monthly donor program: “I need one time gifts.” “I can’t focus on monthly gifts right now. They’re too small to concern myself with.” “I only have so little time. Why would I worry about small donors?” “It’s all about the net and monthly...

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Create a Tax Letter for your monthly donors

Posted by on Jan 3, 2017 in Recurring giving |

This post was first written for and published by Donor Perfect and can be viewed here.  Happy new year! I hope you did fantastic and exceeded your year-end goals! Now it’s back to reality.  You’ve processed all of your donations for 2016.  You’re current with your thank you letters.  That should suffice, right? Then a monthly donor calls and wants a tax-receipt for all of her donations for the year, even though she gets her...

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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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