Your fund development plan is the playbook your fundraising team lives by. Like a playbook for a sports team, you need to have a diverse set of plays so you can score in any situation. 

For fundraisers, one of the most winning “plays” you can run is a monthly giving program! Monthly giving programs increase annual income, strengthen donor relationships, and provide financial stability. 

Monthly giving needs to be a part of your fund development plan! 

This article will walk you through what a monthly giving program is, its benefits, how you can start yours, and a whole lot more. Here’s a full outline: 

What is a Monthly Giving Program?

Monthly giving is a recurring donation program where donors automatically contribute a specified amount to an organization each month. Monthly giving is extremely popular in the nonprofit sector.

If your organization doesn’t have a monthly giving program yet, it’s a strategy you should absolutely consider. 

Fundraising tools like KIT allow you to effortlessly identify prospects in your databases likely to become recurring donors. By analyzing donation and engagement data, KIT spots trends associated with recurring giving and shows you who to get in touch with.

Identify More Recurring Donors With KIT

Using KIT, you can analyze your donor data to identify the best prospects for your recurring giving programs. Add more monthly donors and save time doing it!file Template.

What are the Benefits of Monthly Giving?

Monthly giving comes with various benefits for nonprofits.

1. Consistent revenue

One of the most valuable parts of monthly giving programs is the consistency it provides. You can count on donations to roll in month after month, allowing your fundraising team to spend more time developing connections with your most promising donors. Also, an increase in reliable income will enable fundraisers to make accurate budgetary projections and allocate cash to programs more effectively.

2. Greater total donation amounts

Many nonprofits fixate on acquiring new donors when trying to increase donations. However,  You can’t effectively grow your program by only focusing on new donors. 

Recurring donors are way more valuable than first-time donors. In fact, monthly donors give about 42% more annually than one-time donors. Also, monthly giving is one of the best ways to reduce administrative burdens; you can receive multiple donations with just one ask.

3. Increased donor engagement

Monthly gift programs also help donors become more engaged with your organization. A study found that 51% of recurring donors make an additional donation through another campaign type. This stat is compared to first-time donors, only 12% of which are retained annually.

4. A favorable option for young donors

Monthly giving will likely be the preferred option for many of your younger donors, as 60% of millennials report being interested in monthly giving. More, Nonprofits Source found that 52% of millennials are more likely to give monthly than a large one-time donation. 

So, offering monthly giving options may attract younger donors to your cause. 

But, how do you start a monthly giving program at your nonprofit?

Download FREE Thank You Letter Templates

Saying “thank you” is a vital part of a nonprofit fundraising strategy. Use these templates to craft general, campaign, and impact-focused thank you messages.

Monthly Giving Program Best Practices

One of the most effective ways to encourage monthly donations is through a subscription-based giving club. Organizations establish these clubs to steward monthly donors, increase monthly donor retention, and encourage them to give more in the future.

Here are some best practices to start your club off on the right track: 

1. Break it down for donors

Make it clear to donors what impact they’ll have with a monthly donation. Be as specific and concrete as you can. For example, explain to them that, “By donating $50 per month, you’re feeding 750 dogs a year.”

2. Create added value

Sometimes, donors need encouragement to join a monthly giving club. The best way to do this is by creating a strong sense of community around your club. Feeling like they could be a part of something bigger than themselves will provide potential donors with the motivation they need. 

A great way to build an enthusiastic monthly donor community is by associating exclusive perks with the program, such as updates on impact or exclusive organizational access. More perks will be discussed below.

3. Segment communications for monthly donors

Creating a separate communication segment allows you to tailor messages to monthly donors. Personalizing communications will enhance the club’s sense of community. 

You can send club members special updates on the program’s impact while excluding them from being bombarded with irrelevant emails. For example, receiving a monthly giving campaign email could leave a sour taste in the mouths of preexisting members. So, excluding club members from some general emails can be quite helpful. 

With these best practices, you’ll be well on your way to developing a successful giving club. Besides, nowadays, people are used to monthly subscriptions (thank you, Netflix), and they know what to expect.

Naming Your Monthly Giving Program

The name of your monthly giving program can make all the difference when a potential donor is deciding whether or not to sign up. 

But, what makes a good program name? The name should promote the program by catching prospects’ eyes, relaying a sense of community, and connecting to your mission. 

1. Draw attention

You want the program’s name to stand out, so it catches people’s attention makes them want to donate. Here are a few ways that you can do this:

  • Experiment with alliteration: Friends of Furry Futures
  • Integrate popular phrases: The Homes Away from Home Club
  • Use an acronym: Clean Our Streams (COS)

2. Impart a sense of community 

As previously mentioned, one of the biggest draws for donors to join a monthly giving program is a sense of community. So, use naming language that draws attention to this group dynamic such as “friends”, “circle”, “club members”, “allies”, or “advocates”.

3. Connect to your mission

You’ll want your monthly giving program name to be on-brand and connected to your mission. You can also draw a connection between the program’s name and how it specifically pursues your organization’s mission. 

For example, the program name for a monthly giving club of an anti-smoking advocacy group’s local chapter might be “Smoke-Free Chicago”. This name clearly connects to the mission of the organization but also specifies that it operates locally in Chicago.

How to Write a Monthly Giving Request

For example, the program name for a monthly giving club of an anti-smoking

How do you actually ask a donor to join your monthly giving program? Below are some key elements to include in your email. 

First, if you’re asking a donor, show gratitude for their previous support. This strategy is most effective if you can be as specific as possible. For example, try listing campaigns they’ve been a part of or stating how many years they’ve been a donor. 

It’s also motivating for these donors to see the impact of their donations so far. So try to evoke emotion by explaining the outcomes and impacts of their contributions. For example, you could use a beneficiary’s testimonial to exemplify the tangible impact of their generosity and show why providing monthly support could be so meaningful. 

Next, clearly outline why your organization needs more support. A donor is more likely to contribute if they know exactly how their money will be used. So, succinctly describe the problem at hand and your organization’s strategy to address it. 

Last, explicitly ask them to join your monthly giving program by inserting a donation form into your email. Again, be clear about the impact monthly giving will have on your organization and its programs. Also, you can explain the added value they’ll receive by committing to monthly donations. To help you out with this, here’s a list of the membership benefits you can offer to prospective donors: 

  • Personalized impact reports
  • Hassle-free automated donations
  • Less administrative costs, meaning more of their contribution goes directly to the cause
  • Complete control over pausing or canceling their gifts 
  • A community of like-minded donors
  • Exclusive site visits
  • A shout out on social media
  • Other recognition opportunities

However you choose to write your appeal, make sure it’s authentic, it clearly describes your case for support and outlines membership benefits for donors and your organization.

FREE Donor Profile Template for Fundraisers

Use this template to record and track donor characteristics so you can target the right donors for the right campaigns.

Monthly giving programs can be a key part of your nonprofit’s fundraising strategy, providing reliable income and helping you develop donor relationships. We hope these best practices, naming strategies, and appeal tips will help you set up a monthly giving program that will transform your fundraising.

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