Easy Money: Ask Your Monthly Donors to Give a Little More Each Month

Ask for more.

Have you ever asked your monthly donors to upgrade, to give you a few more dollars each month?

You should. Here’s why…

Your monthly donors are usually 3 things:

  • Your true fans. They are the folks who are really bought-in to your organization or your cause. They cared enough to make the commitment to be a monthly donor.
  • Able to give more. Most (but of course not all) monthly donors have the capacity to give more. You already know that they respond great when you send them appeals, and often send in 13th and 14th gifts during each year.
  • Pleased to give more. They are true fans. They love getting to help your cause, and they love getting to help a bit more than they normally do.

Put all that together and you can see that it’s a no-brainer to ask monthly donors to “give a little more each month.”

Here’s a quick summary of how we do it:

  • Once a year, run a mini-campaign to monthly donors that asks them to increase their monthly gift by a few dollars.
  • A direct mail letter tends to be the anchor of the campaign. Include email if you can. The best-performing campaigns always include telemarketing, but you don’t need it to succeed.
  • The campaign’s messaging thanks the donor for the good they are faithfully doing every month, tells the donor how either/both costs and the need are increasing, and asks the donor if they, “could give an extra $4, $7 or even $11 more each month to help” (or something like that).

Oh, and we usually run the campaign in one of two general timeslots: January 15 through February 15, or September after Labor Day.

You’ll be thrilled at how many of your monthly donors say “yes” and start giving more each month. And I’ve never seen the increase in their monthly giving affect their response to other fundraising efforts throughout the year.

The things you might fear will happen, won’t happen. You won’t have mass cancellations. You won’t get complaints.

I helped an organization with a thriving monthly donor program do this for the first time several years ago. They began raising an additional $60,000 every single month. Now they run the “monthly donor upgrade” campaign once a year, and they send it to every returning monthly donor who didn’t upgrade the previous year.

Now, that’s a big organization. But right now, many of your monthly donors could be giving your organization a little more money each month and would be happy to do it.

My recommendation? Prepare a “monthly donor upgrade” campaign and run it this September or at the beginning of next year. You’ll be thrilled you did.


Steven Screen is Co-Founder of The Better Fundraising Company and lead author of its blog. With over 25 years' fundraising experience, he gets energized by helping organizations understand how they can raise more money. He’s a second-generation fundraiser, a past winner of the Direct Mail Package of the Year, and data-driven.

2 comments on “Easy Money: Ask Your Monthly Donors to Give a Little More Each Month

  1. Do you include a reply device that they fill out and mail back in? Are these for automatic recurring donors or those who pay be check each month?

    1. Hi Gigi, and great question. Yes, include a reply card and a reply envelope. And as far as I know, your automatic recurring donors can use the same form to authorize you to change their monthly donation.

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