In February 2013 we talked about building your group of monthly donors—a practice that is good for the donor and good for the organization! Easy, effortless for the donor; the possibility of larger, more consistent gifts for the organization. Let’s look at some ideas that may bring some new sparks to your monthly donor effort.
Taking a hard look at who’s most likely to join your monthly sustainer program, it’s not those who give large gifts, but those who give several gifts a year.
It stands to reason that a personalized letter addressing the donor by name and mentioning the donor’s last gift or giving interests will attract more monthly donors than a generic letter.
Direct mail experts report that including a premium (note cards, address labels, tote bag) tends to attract more monthly donors than a package without a premium.
To increase the size of your average monthly gift (especially for those who responded to the premium initially), offer a “better” premium for increasing the monthly giving level.
What if a monthly donor lapses? (Don’t lose these valuable players!)
The most effective way to prevent a monthly donor from lapsing is a phone call. The first time there’s a glitch with a monthly donor, make a call. The sooner you contact your donor after the checks stop coming, the more likely you are to renew them.
Most donors who are about to lapse will tell you why. If the reason was a lost job, or sudden change in income, go back in six months and invite them to rejoin. If the problem is changing credit card or banking information, you’ll want a speedy update! And the donor will be impressed with your efficiency! If the donor feels unappreciated, remedy that as soon as possible! (And look for other donors who may be having the same thoughts!) If the problem is shifting loyalties to another organization, this is your opportunity to renew or revise your pitch for special appeal to that donor.
Experience shows that donors who drop out of monthly giving programs can be renewed again at surprisingly high rates.
Don’t forget to offer the monthly option at every donor opportunity. Someone who didn’t like the offer last year may suddenly see the wisdom this year—and thank you for simplifying things!