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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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”...

Read More

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...

Read More

Nothing Is Impossible If You Just Believe

Posted by on Dec 2, 2017 in NonProfit Pro Today, Recurring giving |

  Every year, the military base theater near us (Joint Base Cape Cod) organizes the annual Christmas tree lighting. It’s a fun event, with hot cocoa, peppermint sticks and a short visit of Santa, of course! As a military spouse myself (married to a 32-year Airforce veteran), we love our little theater, and this event is always a lot of fun. It’s so wonderful to see the little kids and adults enjoy themselves. The tree lighting is followed...

Read More

It’s Not Too Late: Get Ready for Monthly Donor Month

Posted by on Dec 1, 2017 in General Interest, NonProfit Pro Today, Recurring giving |

There’s never a bad time to convert your constituents to give monthly, but there are two months a year that typically fit better in your overall communication plan: January and September. Now’s a good time to look at what you could be doing to make your donors stay longer and become more loyal. If you’ve always wanted to try taking over the home page for monthly giving for a month, September is a good month for it. If you’ve been following my...

Read More

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...

Read More

Warning: Minimal Stress Involved

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

Yes, it’s true! Prime giving season is here. Everybody is on high alert. Printers are buzzing. Letter shops are stuffing appeals in overtime. Email drafts for #GivingTuesday and December are flying left and right. You’re pushing board members to commit to calling at least a few donors to say “thank you.” Some have said they’d be willing to come in and write personal notes on some of your appeal letters. And it all has to drop by Thanksgiving!...

Read More

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...

Read More

What Really Motivates Donors to Give Monthly?

Posted by on Oct 24, 2017 in NonProfit Pro Today, Recurring giving |

I’m so excited! I just received “The 2017 Burk Donor Survey Report,” and this year’s study has a huge section on sustainers—comparing this year’s donors’ answers to ones from 2012, when they last had this major focus on monthly gifts. The top reason why donors want to give monthly is because it assures nonprofits of stable funds, immediately followed by: “More convenient for me,” “It reduces cost of fundraising,” “It’s a way to budget my...

Read More

Using Other Sustainers to Invite New Monthly Donors

Posted by on Oct 14, 2017 in General Interest, NonProfit Pro Today, Recurring giving |

  We know that video gives a major boost to open and click-through rates online. So, why not use it to your advantage and invite other donors to join your monthly donor program? Look at your current monthly donors—even if you have just five of them. Call them up, and ask them if they’re willing to share why they’re giving monthly. Then ask them if they’d be willing to say this on video. You don’t have to have a huge budget to make a video...

Read More

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...

Read More

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,...

Read More

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...

Read More

When Is Not a Good Time to Upgrade a Monthly Donor?

Posted by on Aug 1, 2017 in NonProfit Pro Today, Recurring giving |

Originally posted by NonProfitPRO Today on July 24, 2017 I’ve been a monthly donor for many years. Two years ago, I did a little experiment: I joined 20 organizations to see what they would do (10 small and 10 large organizations). I wanted to experience their “thank you” process, their subsequent communication stream, tax letters, emails, lapsed recapture (if any) and upgrade process. One of those organizations is a huge national organization....

Read More

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...

Read More

How Can You Create a Memorable Monthly Donor Journey?

Posted by on Jul 8, 2017 in Recurring giving |

Originally posted on The Eight Principles Last year, I attended a workshop at the International Fundraising Congress in Noordwijkerhout, the Netherlands, about creating memorable donor journeys. I really enjoyed the session and I was looking forward to implementing it with some of my clients, especially focused on monthly donors. So, over the past two months, I worked with a client mapping out their monthly donor journey. This religious...

Read More

6 Recommendations for Monthly Donor Prospects

Posted by on Jul 8, 2017 in NonProfit Pro Today, Recurring giving |

Originally posted on NonProfit Pro Today, June 5, 2017 Hint: They’re typically already in your donor base. The best monthly donor prospects are donors who currently give you gifts of $100 or less. They are not your big check writers; if they did send you a $100 check, it was probably a stretch gift for them. Instead, monthly donor prospects are donors who can make small gifts more often. They are often on a fixed income. So, here’s what I...

Read More

Future Fundraising Now: How to recruit an army of monthly donors

Posted by on Jul 8, 2017 in Recurring giving |

Posted 12 Jun 2017 by Future Fundraising Now If you want to raise a lot more money for your organizations, there are three things you should focus on: 1.      Major donors 2.     Planned giving 3.      Monthly giving Let’s look at #3. It’s probably the biggest deal, and here’s a great post from A Direct Solution with hints from a nonprofit that has converted about 30% of its donors to monthly giving: When Is the Best Time to...

Read More

Monthly Giving: 4 Ways to Improve Donor Retention and Recruit Sustainers

Posted by on Jul 8, 2017 in Recurring giving |

Posted on June 15, 2017 by ngEngage In the second installment of the Blackbaud Institute’s Sustainers in Focus series—research-backed best practices for marketing, promoting, soliciting, and fulfilling a sustained giving program—Best Practice # 1 was to ask new donors to give on a monthly basis. Monthly giving almost sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Why on earth would a donor who has no relationship with you yet trust your organization...

Read More

Should You Invest in Account Updater for Monthly Donors?

Posted by on Jul 8, 2017 in NonProfit Pro Today, Recurring giving |

Originally posted on NonProfitPro Today, June 26, 2017 Last week, I wrote about those “pesky” monthly credit card donors whose card expired or changes all the time. The good news is that there is a solution that you can implement for very little money. It works in the back-end and is able to find updated information for some 15 to 25 percent of your cards. That’s 15 to 25 percent of donors you do not have to contact–the...

Read More

How to Best Market Monthly Programs to Donors

Posted by on Jun 30, 2017 in NonProfit Pro Today, Recurring giving |

First published on NonProfit Pro Today on June 12, 2017 I just came back from presenting a workshop on monthly donors to a group of nonprofits in Michigan. One of the questions asked was the one on how to best market monthly donor programs to existing donors, especially for small organizations with limited funds and limited time. If you asked me this question four years ago, I would have answered, “Yikes! That’s a tough proposition.” But now,...

Read More

What Can You Do If Your Monthly Donors’ Payments Are Not Coming In?

Posted by on Jun 28, 2017 in General Interest, NonProfit Pro Today, Recurring giving |

Originally posted on NonProfitPRO Today, June 19, 2017 Two weeks ago, I was checking my credit card statement and noticed several iTunes charges on it. The charges were going up in value. Believe it or not, I don’t have an iTunes account, so that was an immediate flag. I called the credit card company right away to dispute the charges. They, of course, canceled my card and sent me a new card. I’ve used this card for multiple monthly...

Read More

When Is the Best Time to Ask for a Monthly Gift?

Posted by on Jun 1, 2017 in NonProfit Pro Today, Recurring giving |

Originally posted NonProfit Pro Today When fundraisers ask me this, the answer is: no better time like the present! And, you should be asking all the time! The more you ask, the more monthly donors you’ll generate. Here are just a few things one organization does that really has helped them grow their program. (They already have some 30 percent of their donors give monthly.) • Every September, they take over the homepage with a direct link to...

Read More

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...

Read More

The Best Response When a Monthly Donor Calls to Cancel

Posted by on May 24, 2017 in NonProfit Pro Today, Recurring giving |

A monthly donor calling up to cancel is a dreaded call for any organization. It’s something nobody wants to hear. But it’s important to respond in the right way. Bloomerang’s Steven Shattuck posted an article on his experience canceling as a monthly donor. So, let’s provide you with the best response when this happens at your organization. This requires you to get all of the people answering the phones at your organization in a room for a few...

Read More

Monthly Donor Acquisition Made Easy

Posted by on Apr 7, 2015 in Recurring giving |

By now, I trust you’re convinced that you must truly get going on generating monthly donors. Here are three simple tips to get started: 1. Ask your donors to join Is it really that simple? Yes, it is. If you ask them, they will come. How else are donors going to know that you have a program and you’d like them to join this really convenient way to support your mission? 2. Make it easy to find Occasionally, an organization calls me...

Read More