Recurring donations are a crucial component of any nonprofit’s fundraising strategy. Converting one-time supporters into loyal, highly engaged monthly nonprofit donors is a cost-effective, long-term strategy for building a strong base of support for your organization.
This article will guide you through ways to effectively engage your audience, explain how to attract recurring donors to your nonprofit, and provide you with a powerful arsenal of resources to help you convert existing supporters into monthly donors.
Let’s dive in!
Why Are Monthly Donors Important?
Monthly donors are a critical aspect of a successful fundraising strategy. While grants and corporate sponsorships can provide crucial funding to support entire programs, positions, or initiatives, they are not always an effective long-term strategy for securing financial support.
Grants and sponsorships often come with many restrictions and specific timeframes that must be adhered to, meaning those dollars may not be there one, two, or three years from now.
These sources of funding also require deep strategic thought and planning processes that, if relied on too much, can overburden staff, and result in comparatively small amounts of funding when compared to the amount of work put in to receive them.
Creating a monthly donor program is a surefire way to secure reliable sources of funding that will sustain your organization for the long term. The saying “every little bit helps” may seem cliche, but this is absolutely the truth when it comes to monthly giving.
For a monthly donor, $10 each month may seem like a small amount. But for the organization they are giving to, $120 additional dollars a year can make a substantial impact.
How to Craft the Perfect Message When Asking for More Donations
When it comes to increasing monthly nonprofit donors, starting with the perfect message is key.
Asking donors for more money each month can be a daunting task. Creating a dynamic message that illustrates the importance of giving to your organization while not coming off as demanding can be a tricky balance to strike.
The following steps will help you craft a powerful message to inspire your audience to action and convert them into becoming committed monthly donors.
1. Get to Know Your Audience
Knowing your audience is essential to growing your donor base and creating a compelling message for an appeal. Make an effort to analyze your audience by collecting information through surveys or working with internal or external data experts to strategically catalog information about them.
Once you have an idea of who your audience is, you can begin dividing them into segments based on their demographic information. Giving history, geographic location, and age are all examples of donor information that could help influence how you personalize or craft your message.
2. Tell A Captivating Story
You now know everything there is to know about your audience. You have crafted a personalized introduction that catches their attention and draws them in. So now what? How do you really use a message to hook your audience?
The answer is simple: tell a captivating story.
Stories are what grab the attention of a reader and inspire them to action. Any message you craft encouraging donors to give an increased amount or more frequently should include a narrative that demonstrates why giving to your organization is imperative.
Does one of your participants or staff members have a special story that would elicit a powerful emotion? Developing stories by partnering with the individuals you work with every day can help you demonstrate the incredible work your nonprofit does. For more tips on how to do this effectively, check out our nonprofit storytelling guide here.
3. Illustrate Impact
You have caught your audience’s attention with a captivating narrative, but how does that translate into giving? One of the most effective ways to transform audience engagement into meaningful action is to show them their specific impact.
Studies have demonstrated that donors who are told in specific terms how their donations made an impact or how their future donation would potentially benefit the organization donated nearly twice as much compared to donors who read general, non-specific information about the charity they were engaged with.
Illustrating impact is an effective way to convince your audience that making a monetary contribution is worthwhile and to help them feel personally connected to the work that is making a material difference in the lives of others.
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9 Ways to Increase Monthly Donors to Your Nonprofit
There are a multitude of strategies you can use to increase the number of monthly nonprofit donors at your organization. The following nine ideas should help you encourage your audience to become recurring donors, allowing you to sustain operations for years to come.
Let’s get started:
1.Give Monthly Donors a Special Designation
Many nonprofit organizations develop special designations that set monthly donors apart from other organizational supporters. Creating a special group or designation for monthly donors can make them feel like they are part of a community—that they are a recognized member of the organization they have chosen to become involved in.
For example, Doctors Without Borders has given their recurring donors a special designation: “field partners”. This name reflects the importance that recurring giving has in their work in the field.
Donors not only want to see that their contributions are making a direct impact, but also want to feel like they themselves are truly a part of the important work you are doing. Special tiers or designations help show donors that they are explicitly involved in advancing your mission and vision.
2. Offer Exclusive Content
In addition to special designations, it is important to prioritize communication with members of your monthly donor program and to set them apart from other donors and members of your audience. Monthly donors go above and beyond to give to your organization, so it is important to do the same when illustrating the impact of their increased giving.
Many nonprofit organizations provide monthly donors with early access to their annual reports, and others provide a special zine or quarterly guide with inside access to interviews with leadership and recent updates on the organization’s work.
The nonprofit Women Employed not only provides their monthly donors with early access to their annual report, but also sends out a special quarterly newsletter that keeps recurring donors abreast of their most recent achievements.
3. Make Monthly Giving a Breeze
Monthly giving should be as easy as accessing your nonprofit’s website. Make sure to position the “DONATE” button on your website in a prominent location so that no one can miss it.
The numbers don’t lie: studies indicate that nonprofits that position their donation button in a prominent location on their website can experience a whopping 190% increase in donations.
If your audience has to spend more than a few minutes going through your website to find where to donate, they may stop their search and leave it for another time—which could mean losing out on the donor entirely. Keep your donors engaged and interested by making the process as simple and functional as possible.
4. Engage Your Audience in Virtual or In-Person Events
Fundraising events are a tried and true cornerstone of any successful development program. Events are a way to directly engage your supporters in a unique and compelling way, providing your organization with a platform to publicly recognize the efforts and generosity of your donor base.
Special events like dinners, happy hours, game-nights, auctions, and walk-a-thons are all ways to bring together your community and connect with individuals who are ready and willing to become deeply invested in your organization.
By inviting and encouraging monthly donors to attend events and bring guests, you are tapping into an extended community of potential monthly donors, and are surrounding them with passionate advocates that will further spring them to action.
5. Enlist Your Board of Directors
Don’t forget! There are so many advocates in your corner who are willing to lend a hand when it comes to monthly giving.
A nonprofit organization’s Board of Directors is one of its greatest assets, and that goes double for recurring giving. Your Board of Directors should be your nonprofit organization’s most vital advocates—ready and willing to do what it takes to increase revenue and double the impact of your regular contributors.
Board members can provide your development team with a list of contacts, they can attend events and directly engage with your audience, and they can reach out to their own professional networks to link you with key community leaders, businesses, corporations, and connections that can open doors to monthly giving opportunities.
6. Leverage Key Partnerships In Your Community
Your Board of Directors is not the only thruway to extended networks of potential monthly nonprofit donors. You can look toward partnerships in every corner of your community.
The individuals you work with on a day-to-day basis are committed partners in your work and potential networks for creating funding relationships.
For example, corporate vendors can engage their employees and encourage them to donate as part of their own team and community-building efforts, and local leaders can provide you with the expertise and knowledge to know where to seek out new support. Leveraging the major partners in your work is a way to further your reach and get your name out to individuals and supporters you may never have connected with otherwise.
7. Team Up with Former Participants
There is no greater advocate than a former participant who has benefitted from your organization’s services. Participants have a unique base of knowledge and lived expertise that sets them apart from other fundraising partners.
Enlisting former participants to act as advocates on behalf of your monthly giving program and encouraging them to share their stories with the public can help build a network of trusted donors who have witnessed firsthand what can be achieved through your organization.
8. Encourage Peer-to-Peer Fundraising and Social Media-Based Challenges
One of the best ways to engage donors and encourage recurring giving is through peer-to-peer fundraising on social media. Peer-to-peer fundraising is a common fundraising tactic that encourages individuals to utilize their personal online social networks to raise money on behalf of an organization.
Another way to further cultivate your donor base is to create peer-to-peer recurring giving challenges. After all, who doesn’t like a bit of friendly competition, especially when it is for a great cause?
Facebook has developed a mechanism where you can create special fundraising challenges on their platform. You can use tools like Facebook’s fundraising challenges to engage your audience in a creative way while reaching new individuals and keeping current donors active.
9. Show Your Appreciation
Most importantly, share your love and appreciation! Your monthly nonprofit donors are special. They are a sustaining cornerstone of your organization and their contributions should be appropriately recognized.
Some nonprofit organizations share their appreciation through messages online, celebrating the impact and achievements of their monthly donors through public recognition. Not only does this set your existing monthly donors apart, but it also encourages other audience members to join in and make monthly contributions themselves.
Other organizations show their appreciation by giving special branded gifts such as bumper stickers, magnets, t-shirts, or tote bags. Not only will your donors appreciate these gifts, but they will also proudly sport your branded merchandise, creating additional opportunities to get the word out about your nonprofit and its work.
Wrapping Up: How to Increase Monthly Donors for Your Nonprofit
Monthly donors are an essential aspect of any fundraising strategy. No nonprofit can fully sustain their operations without a diversified revenue stream that comes from consistent, loyal support. With these resources and tips, you are ready to start recruiting new monthly donors to your organization and keep them engaged for years to come.
Go ahead and get started!
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