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8 Steps to Setting up a Monthly Giving Program

Written by Kelly Anderson

If your nonprofit does not have a monthly giving program, you are missing out on the fastest-growing segment of online fundraising. A monthly giving program is more than adding giving frequency to your forms. In this article discover how you can launch a successful recurring giving program in 8 steps. 

What is Monthly (Recurring) Giving?

Recurring giving is when a donor opts to make regular, automatic donations to your organization.  The most common giving frequency of recurring gifts is monthly. These gifts are automatically made to your organization via credit card or bank transfer. 

Benefits of a Monthly Giving Program (Recurring Gifts)

There are many benefits to establishing a recurring giving program. Monthly gifts ensure consistent funding to your organization. Also, younger demographics are more likely to be part of a recurring giving program. Monthly donors give more over time and have higher retention rates. And finally, monthly giving programs are efficient, saving you and your donors time.

Recurring gifts ensure consistent funding to your organization 

We all know how busy the year-end giving season is. According to nptechforgood.com almost one-third of all donations are received in December. Because of this, it is important for nonprofits to budget throughout the year.

Increasing monthly gifts will ensure consistent cash flowing into your organization. This results in more flexibility with your funding and spending.

Millennials are more likely to be part of a recurring giving program

52% of Millennials were more likely to give monthly over a large one-time donation. Also, Millennials are most responsive to online fundraising. By building a monthly giving program online, you appeal to Millennials’ giving preferences.

Monthly donors give more over time

For many people, it is more manageable to give a small amount each month. But, over time these monthly gifts add up to more than the average yearly gifts. Donors that set up recurring donations give 42% more, compared to one-time donations.

Recurring gifts are more efficient for your organization and the donor

Monthly or recurring gifts are efficient and less work for your donor and your organization. Once a donor has set up their monthly giving, the funds will automatically deduct from their bank account or credit card. Your organization doesn’t have to solicit for the gift each time and they don’t have to fill out a form for each donation. 

Retention rates are higher for monthly donors

Monthly giving programs generally have an 80% retention rate after one year. After five years this number goes up to 95%. How come?  There is something to be said about set-it and forget-it. Much like paying a bill, a monthly donation comes out of a donor’s account when expected. Since it has been budgeted for, there is generally little thought to it. 

8 Steps for Building a Monthly Giving Program

If your nonprofit takes the following steps, you will be on your way to success with a recurring giving program:

  1. Assign a person or team to manage recurring gifts
  2. Brand your recurring giving program
  3. Build a dedicated page on your website for your monthly giving program
  4. Make sure your recurring giving form is responsive
  5. Build a community of monthly donors
  6. Promote your monthly giving program
  7. Leverage Social Media to engage Gen Z
  8. Include monthly giving on your print forms

1. Assign a person or team to manage recurring gifts

Your nonprofit should make a plan on how to handle recurring gifts. This will include how to process, thank, update, or cancel the donations. By assigning someone to oversee these tasks, you will ensure consistency. Tip: Create a dedicated email for recurring gifts. That way, any questions or updates from donors can be directed to one place. 

Provide all recurring donors access to your dedicated email or team. Remember, you are building a community based on trust. Your monthly donors should know exactly who to contact when they need something.

2. Brand your recurring giving program

Source: https://give.foodbankiowa.org/ge/monthly

 

Branding can go a long way with a recurring giving program.  The first step is to come up with a name for your program. This is a great opportunity to get creative. Think of something that relates to your organization. Check out the examples below for some creative name ideas. 

Creative Names for Monthly Giving Program Examples: 

3. Build a dedicated page on your website for your recurring giving program

Your recurring giving program should be prominent on your website. The best way to do this is to have a dedicated page highlighting all the benefits of monthly giving. Include a link to your recurring giving program on your donate dropdown. This page will also serve as a landing page when promoting the program via email or social media. 

Ideas of what to include on your recurring giving donation page

Showcase Impact as a Monthly Donor

 

Source: https://www.centerforenrichedliving.org/monthly-donation-faqs

Highlighting the impact of a monthly gift is an effective way to encourage donations.  Data-driven visuals are motivating on monthly giving pages. Connect gift sizes with a tangible impact on your organization. For example, show how $10 a month can provide one student access to your after-school program. 

Highlight additional benefits of monthly giving

We all want to do more good. On your monthly giving page show how monthly giving will do good beyond the donation. For example, recurring giving=less solicitation. This makes less waste and less impact on the environment. Also, when a donor signs up for monthly giving, they will save your nonprofit admin time and cost. That means more money going to your cause. Including these additional benefits on your donation page serve as an added incentive. 

An FAQ Section outlining the giving process

Make the recurring giving process crystal clear to donors. You need to build trust if you are going to be accepting monthly donations from donors. The FAQ page should include how to set up monthly giving. Also include instructions on how to change the giving level, and how to cancel if need be.

Your Donation Form

You should include an online donation form on your recurring giving donation page. You can use your regular donation form, or build one specifically for this page. The most important step here is to add giving frequency to your donation form. Learn how to set up recurring giving on your DonorSnap forms here.

Tip: When you add giving frequency to your DonorSnap forms, users have the option to choose ‘no end date’. This setting comes standard on our forms and will allow the donor to continue making monthly contributions until they contact your organization to cancel.

Remember, this is a space for you to get creative with your own branding. Think of other ways you can enhance this page to emphasize your program and drive more donations.

4. Make sure your recurring donation form is responsive

Did you know that 25% of online donations are made via mobile? Responsive means your form and webpage will look as good on a phone as it does on your desktop. If your form is not responsive it can become distorted on a mobile device. According to Nonprofitsource.com, responsive design doubles giving on mobile devices.

Luckily, all DonorSnap’s online forms are responsive. So whether a donor is visiting via mobile, computer, or tablet, the form will adjust to display best on each device.  

5. Build a community of recurring donors

Monthly donors need to stay engaged.  Unfortunately, many nonprofits stop thanking monthly donors after three months.   

Sending the same thank you letter each month may be redundant. But you can offer exclusive things to monthly donors. For example, a monthly newsletter for recurring donors, special events, or gifts. 

You should also consider sending a yearly summary of monthly donors’ contributions. This is a great time to thank them and show how their gifts made a difference. 

6. Promote your monthly giving program

Once you have built and branded your program, it’s time to start advertising. Email marketing is an affordable and efficient way to recruit donors.

To start, brainstorm with your team what type of recurring giving campaigns you want to set up. Then dig through your data and segment your mailing lists. For example, you might build a list of donors who have given more than one small donation per year. This group would be a good target for your recurring giving program. 

Another idea is to set up a LYBUNT campaign. It is possible you had some lapsed donors due to financial constraints. So target this group with a message on how small monthly gifts are as important as one-time, larger sums.

7. Leverage social media to reach Gen Z

59% of Gen Zs are inspired to donate to charity by a message/image they saw on social media. You should leverage social media to spread awareness about monthly giving. Use the same content you built for the webpage and repurpose it for social media. 

Tools like Canva allow you to create professional look graphics from templates. They also offer free pro accounts to nonprofits, so it is worth checking out if you are not already using them. 

8. Include monthly giving on your print donation forms

It is a given that you should promote monthly giving programs online. But don’t miss the opportunity to collect recurring gifts from your print mailings or events. Adding a recurring giving section to your print donation forms is a great way to reach more people. 

Start by including the most important details of your program on the form. Then add options for frequency, start date, amount, and a credit card or bank number. You won’t have as much space on paper forms as you do on the website. Include a link or a QR code that links to your monthly giving page. That way, if someone does not want to fill out the paper form they can sign up from their phone.

Summary

Recurring giving is when a donor pledges to give a certain amount of money to your organization at a set frequency. Recurring donations are often set on a monthly basis and are made via automatic payments or checking withdrawals. 

There are many benefits to setting up a recurring giving program, including:

  • Recurring gifts ensure consistent funding to your organization
  • Millennials are more likely to be part of a recurring giving program
  • Monthly donors give more over time
  • Recurring gifts are more efficient for your organization and the donor
  • Retention rates are higher for monthly donors

A recurring giving program is more than adding giving frequency to your online forms. There are many ways you can brand and promote your program. The following steps will help you set up a successful recurring giving program.

  1. Assign a person or team to manage recurring gifts
  2. Brand your recurring giving program
  3. Build a dedicated page on your website for your recurring giving program
  4. Make sure your recurring donation form is responsive
  5. Build a community of recurring donors
  6. Promote Your Monthly Giving Program
  7. Leverage social media to reach Gen Z
  8. Include monthly giving on your print donation forms

Following these steps will help you spread awareness about your monthly giving program. If you work with a nonprofit CRM like DonorSnap, recurring giving can be set up on your online donation form. You can then manage recurring gifts in the CRM system.

If you are not a DonorSnap user and want to learn more about a CRM for nonprofits, visit donorsnap.com/demo to schedule a free demo.

 

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