You had a fantastic year end campaign. Donations were up. A few new donors even joined the family. But there were also some donors who lapsed and did not make a gift last year.
According to the 2015 Fundraising Effectiveness Survey organizations typically retain only 19% of their first time donors. Overall, retention rates are at 46%.
“Usually it costs less to retain and motivate an existing donor than to attract a new one, and so taking positive steps to reduce gift and donor losses is often the best strategy to increase net fundraising gains at the least cost.”
One of the very best and most cost effective ways to retain your donors is to bring them into your monthly or recurring giving program.
Monthly giving can be a valuable part of your overall fundraising strategy. With realistic monthly giving options your organization can increase the size and volume of your donations.
Here are 5 reasons why you should engage your donors in monthly or recurring giving now . . .
- It’s convenient for your donor. The donor already supports your cause. Monthly giving is an opportunity for them to support your cause in a manner that is convenient, easy, and affordable for them. And, they won’t need to receive all those direct mail pieces.
- Your income will increase dramatically. Monthly donors tend to give an average of 42% more than annual donors. (Network for Good) What organization would turn away 42% more income from donors? Think of the impact those extra contributions could generate.
- Your relationship with your donors will improve. Monthly donor programs can help draw donors closer to your organization. They become more fully investing in your organization and its impact and are some of your best supporters. They are among your most loyal donors and can be especially generous in emergency situations and even capital campaigns. These donors are six to seven times more likely to make your organization a beneficiary in their wills.
- Donors will stay with your organization longer. On average, recurring or monthly donors will stay with your organization longer (5-10 years or more) and will give more money for more consecutive years than single-gift donors.
- Donors will give more to your organization. Tom Ahern calls monthly donors “major donors on an installment plan.” Those monthly contributions add up. A $50/year donor now becomes a $120/year donor with a $10/month gift. Over 5 years that is $600. That’s 42% more than one-time annual gifts.
What? No monthly giving program? No to worries.
Here are a few easy first steps
- Start Now. January and February are the best months to start a monthly giving program. Many donors are setting in motion their plans and vision for their annual charitable giving. Tax statements go out and there may be some guilt from the end of the year.
- Ask after a one-time donation. First thank your donors and share the benefits and impact. That said, they are more likely to take another action after a positive first action. Research shows that one of the best times to ask for a recurring or monthly gift is after their first gift or after a one-time gift.
- Ask for small amounts. According to monthly giving guru Erica Waasdorp (Monthly Giving : the Sleeping Giant), “asking for low monthly ask amounts beat the higher monthly ask amounts. Monthly donors are typically those donors who cannot write big checks. You can start your first ask as low as $5 or $10. You really can upgrade donors later.” But don’t be too greedy at first.
- Organize the basics. Make sure you’re ready with your website, your database, your accounting office. While you still need to send an annual tax receipt, your donors don’t need monthly thank you letters, but they need to hear from you regularly.
- Pick up the phone. Use email and direct mail to solicit and communicate. To generate the highest response from your monthly giving campaign, include calls to your media mix. According to Erica Waasdorp “nothing works better than telemarketing. The response rate is simply higher than mail or email.” A combination of all three media strategies is ideal.
The downside, if there is one: It’s too easy to forget about your monthly donors. You don’t have to keep asking them. But you do have to keep connected to them. Or they will go away.
J. Milito & Associates can help you retain your donors with follow-up (1) to your email and direct mail solicitations and (2) to help you stay connected to your monthly donors, with professional phone calls on your behalf.
J. Milito & Associates turns conversations with your donors into pledge commitments at an average cost to you of just $.21 for every dollar raised.
If your current efforts are costing you more than that, we can save you money while you achieve your fundraising goals.
Contact J. Milito & Associates today to help you plan your monthly giving outreach and stewardship because your organization is worth it.