Adapted from a presentation by Jas Jhooty (BC Children’s Hospital Foundation) & Maeve Strathy (Blakely Inc.) given at the 2017 AHP Big Ideas Conference.
Originally published in the October 2017 AHP Connect.
Imagine having a consistent source of fundraising revenue you can depend on every month.
That’s your monthly giving program. Whether you have one already – something sophisticated or merely organic – or not, you know this is a place you need to dedicate attention. Monthly donors provide you with reliable support and when properly engaged, they will give you two times more value over their lifetime with your organization and stay on your file an average of five years longer than regular donors!
But even more importantly – it’s good for donors themselves. Instead of receiving and being asked to respond to several solicitations a year, , they can keep their support constant and – with the right program – get regular reminders of just how much impact they have on the good work of the organization they care about.
So what does it take? Time? Sure. Investment? Definitely. It’s not easy work, but it’s not complicated either. And to help you out, here are the 9 ways to build your monthly giving program:
Make the internal case for monthly investment
To start things off, you have to have organizational buy-in. Especially if you’re a major gifts shop, it may be difficult to make the case for the power of monthly giving, so make sure you have industry benchmarks to back you up. Reach out to colleagues at other organizations, research online, and build a case for investing in the growth of your monthly program. Find a champion in your department – or even better, on the board! – so you’re not alone. And if you’re still finding it difficult, propose a test investment. If you can prove the concept on a smaller scale, it may be easier to convince the powers that be to invest more.
Brand your program
Monthly donors are what we call high-value donors. Much like the other two groups of high-value donors – namely, mid-level and legacy – monthly donors are motivated by other things than your average donor. For example, monthly donors often want to feel a part of something. Consider this motivation as you build your program; a brand, club, or giving society isn’t essential to a strong monthly giving program, but if your donors want it (consider asking them!), it could be just the ticket for success.
The offer is the most important thing
However, a brand isn’t going to help you if donors don’t know what they’re going to be impacting if they join up to give monthly. Give thought to your “offer”, also known as the fundraising proposition. The fundraising proposition answers the question: “Why do you want me to give monthly now?” What can monthly donors fund? Is it research? Equipment? Can you find a succinct – even exciting – way to express that? Donors need to feel their impact before they make this important decision to give on a monthly basis.