The Master of Monthly Giving


The following is a guest post from Erica Waasdorp of A Direct Solution.

Erica has more experience at every level of monthly giving than anyone I’m aware of. Big orgs, small orgs, programs just starting, you name it, Erica understands how it works and knows what to focus on next.

I’m sharing her post below because of the list in the middle. Regardless of whether you’re thinking about starting a monthly giving program or you have a thriving one, if you read the list you’ll find at least one actionable thing you can do to help your program work a little bit better.

During a recent webinar, someone asked me: “Does the timing of the launch of your monthly giving program make a difference? Are there certain times of the year that are better to start a monthly giving program?”

My answer is twofold:

If your organization is really gung-ho about monthly giving — as in, you almost care more about generating sustainers than one-time gifts — then by all means, go for it!

There is really no bad time to launch your monthly giving program. HOWEVER, it’s crucial that you have everything ready before you launch.

If you don’t have the people or the time to prepare, please do yourself a favor and hold off for a bit. Year-end is a busy time, so the last thing I’d want to do is add any more stress to your plate.

Knowing how you are probably as busy as a one-armed paper hanger, here’s what I recommend you do instead:

Just focus on getting as many one-time gifts in now during the year-end giving days — Giving Tuesday, holiday giving, etc. Then take one hour a week during the next two months, and chip away at getting everything ready for a launch in January.

Print out this list and just cross off each item as you go along:

  1. Decide who’s going to be responsible.
  2. Add monthly to your one-time donation page, if it’s not there already.
  3. Create a monthly giving page if you don’t have one already.
  4. Link the monthly giving page to other areas of your site and the pull-down menu.
  5. See how the monthly gift will flow into your database.
  6. If you can do pop-ups on your one-time giving page, create a pop-up to convert someone to give monthly.
  7. Create the thank-you landing page/auto-responder, emails, direct mail, etc.
  8. Create a letter to send out as a special invitation to those donors who gave at year-end.
  9. Create a few emails to send out in January, inviting your email names to give monthly.
  10. Create a special part in your homepage slider to link to your monthly giving page.
  11. Create a launch email to send to your board, staff and volunteers first thing January, so everybody is aware of it.
  12. Test everything before you go live!

If you just cross off the items on the list above, you’ll be ready to launch come January. What a great time to ask the donor to help 12 months a year.

Don’t worry too much about benefits or names if you think that’s going to take too much time; you can always add that later. The key is to ask your donors to give monthly first and make sure the recognition email and letter are in place. Send those right away. It’s always OK to “surprise” your monthly donors later with a special benefit. They’re getting the big advantage of feeling good by making a difference in a way they can afford.

Erica recently published a book on monthly giving and it’s brilliant. Here’s where to get it on Amazon – I can personally vouch that what she shares in the book will help you acquire more monthly donors, keep them for longer, and increase their lifetime values. It’s that good!