As it’s almost Halloween, I thought I’d discuss the “creepy” topic of asking monthly donors for an extra gift this giving season.

Remember this post from a few months ago? I described the biggest reason why sustainers give monthly — it’s because they care about your mission.

So knowing that, why on earth would you NOT give your monthly donors the opportunity to make an extra gift? You’re doing them a favor by asking them to make an even bigger difference. They love you.

Of course, you have to do it right. What does that mean?

  1. Create a special segment code, so you can track results.
  2. Exclude those monthly donors who have clearly told you not to solicit them.
  3. Don’t ask your monthly donors for an extra gift based upon their total of cumulative gifts this year. That’s too high.
  4. Don’t ask them to give an extra gift based upon the amount of their monthly gift. That’s not high enough.
  5. If at all possible, see if you can go back to their most recent one-time gift.
  6. If that is not possible or if it becomes a very manual process, just use the “Other $__” or “Surprise me $__” ask on the reply form.
  7. If the quantity allows, consider a personal handwritten note on the letter.
  8. If the quantity is larger, hand-write a personal note and print/laser it on the letter. The more personal the approach looks, the better off you are.
  9. ALWAYS say thank you for their monthly gifts. Let them know you know how special they are.
  10. If you want to warm up your monthly donors ahead of time, consider a phone call or leaving a message saying thank you!
  11. Choose wisely. If you’re sending a lot of appeals during the year, pick those you think will resonate best with your monthly donors or are extra special (like a calendar, a holiday card, supporter card or a match).

So with this in mind, do you still think that asking your existing monthly donors for an extra gift is “creepy?”

If you’re doing something special this year, I’d love to know. From the most recent sustainer workshop, many nonprofits with sustainer programs of all sizes are especially interested in cultivation. Sending additional appeals is part of that.

Happy Halloween!

Originally posted by NonProfitPRO on October 28, 2019.