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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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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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...

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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...

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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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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...

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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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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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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...

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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...

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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...

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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,...

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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...

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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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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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Are you following #MonthlyDonorMonday?

Posted by on Jan 16, 2017 in Recurring giving |

A few months ago, I started promoting #MonthlyDonorMonday. All I ask of you is to focus one half hour every Monday on your monthly donor program. Of course, you’re totally welcome to do more, but if nothing else, start with half an hour. You can read a MonthlyDonorMonday tip. You can test your web site. You can see what other organizations are doing. You can create a monthly donor page. You can start working on a monthly donor plan.  You...

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Calculating your Monthly Giving Coverage Ratio

Posted by on Mar 31, 2015 in Recurring giving |

Last week I talked about upgrading your monthly donors, a very important part in growing your program. Today I’ll go back to something that’s even more important with any monthly donor program: Retaining your monthly donors. Like anything with fundraising, the rule of thumb is: If you can keep a monthly donor, that’s still cheaper than bringing in a new one. To calculate how you’re doing with your program, we use the...

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5 Big To-Dos for Monthly Giving Programs

Posted by on Mar 14, 2015 in Recurring giving |

This post was also published in Network for Good.   5 Big To-Dos for Monthly Giving Programs One of my favorite breakfasts is the Big-To-Do at Friendly’s. French toast, scrambled eggs and bacon well-done! I’m getting hungry just thinking about it! While this is not breakfast, it’s even more important to ‘enjoy’. So, if you’re serious about your monthly giving program, make sure that you follow these 5 big To-Dos.   Big To-Do 1: Ask...

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Solve the problem where it needs to be solved…

Posted by on Feb 7, 2015 in Recurring giving |

I’ve been working in direct marketing, fundraising and monthly giving for a very long time. And of course, I ran into problems. One of the things I learned early on though is that sometimes it’s really important to make sure that you solve the problem where the problem needs to be solved. In other words, sometimes, it looks as if something is causing the problem, but when you analyze it, it’s really caused by something else....

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Sustainers are retainers

Posted by on Jul 18, 2014 in Recurring giving |

  I just came back from a conference, attended by some 1,700 people and I’m so excited! There were 4 (yes, four) sessions on monthly giving aka sustainers!! More and more organizations are finding that ‘sustainers are retainers’. Thank you Dan Allenby for this great word cloud. Many donor base systems are adding monthly giving options to make your life as a fundraiser easier. And research is growing. For example:...

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What does a historic building have to do with recurring giving?

Posted by on May 31, 2014 in General Interest |

Bon giorno, You may wonder, why I am writing about history all of a sudden? Because I just came back from a terrific but short trip to France and Italy… Something we’d planned for a while and it was finally happening! We saw where our World War II veterans stormed the Normandy beaches and helped liberate our European fellow men and women. And we saw so many amazing (and old) things, one can only be full of awe!! The most impressive...

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Monthly Giving for Small Nonprofits: 8 tips for keeping it simple

Posted by on May 4, 2014 in Recurring giving |

This post was written by Joanne Fritz and appeared in about.com.  Thank you, Joanne!! Here’s the full post… It seems to me that monthly giving programs should be a natural for small, even tiny nonprofits. Yet, many in the US still don’t use this form of giving. It may be that they think it is just too complicated. I just recently whizzed through “Monthly Giving: The Sleeping Giant,” by Erica Waasdorp, and was...

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