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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Monthly Giving, Driver of Sustainable Fundraising Par Excellence!

Posted by on Dec 20, 2017 in General Interest, Recurring giving |

Monthly Giving, Driver of Sustainable Fundraising Par Excellence! Monthly giving is probably one of the least understood methods of sustainable giving in the US, but yet one of the most powerful ones. Once you start, you’ll experience the power, but it’s the starting that’s often the most difficult. Today, I’d like to address the first 3 of the Eight Principles for Sustainable Fundraising ™.as they all relate to monthly giving as a major driver...

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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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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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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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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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Should You Use a ‘Tchotchke’ for Monthly Giving?

Posted by on Oct 17, 2017 in NonProfit Pro Today, Recurring giving |

  This is an interesting question. The first answer is that this depends very much on what you’re currently using in your appeals and messaging. The second answer is that you will never know until you test it. If your donors are used to receiving something “in exchange for a donation,” using a tchotchke or premium as a “thank you” for joining a monthly giving program may be the way to go. For example, if you’re sending out upfront premiums...

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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...

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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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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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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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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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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....

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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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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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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...

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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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3 biggest reasons to jump on the monthly donor bandwagon

Posted by on Jun 14, 2017 in Case Studies, NonProfit Pro Today, Recurring giving |

This article was written for Nonprofit Pro and was first published in the April Nonprofit Pro Magazine and later on Nonprofit Pro Today. I’m a total convert on the topic of monthly donors. I’ve seen its power and how it has kept an organization going after a major disaster. I’ve seen how it generates 50 percent of an organization’s revenue. I’ve seen that even small tweaks to organizations’ communications can make a difference. The good news is...

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