Fundraising is a challenging proposition for any nonprofit. While nonprofit organizations can use a plethora of funding sources available nowadays, deciding on an ideal funding model to suit the individual needs and circumstances is a tough nut to crack.
Out of the numerous online and offline fundraising techniques, ranging from crowdfunding to direct mail – recurring donations is still the most crucial survival strategy for any nonprofit organization. It doesn’t matter what your nonprofit’s mission is — recurring donations can be a valuable part of your organization because these monthly donations are a consistent source of income.
When it comes to gaining recurring donors, converting your one-time donors is your best bet. They are far more likely to become regular monthly donors than the cold leads.
So, how do you convert your one-time donors into monthly donors? Let’s take a look at some tried and true techniques.
Educate your donors.
One of the most effective ways to convince your one-time donor to make recurring donations is to explain why your organization needs monthly donations and what impact their donations can have. Today’s donors want to know if their donations are making any difference, so it’s important to reassure them that their donations have major impact. Use infographics or “tiered giving” options that clearly spell out exactly how donations impact the work you’re doing.
UNICEF has taken this approach even further by breaking down the monthly donations into daily costs. This way, a monthly donation doesn’t look so intimidating to the donors because it helps them realize that they are giving back just a few cents per day.
Upgrade your technology.
Before you even think of turning your one-time donors into monthly donors, make sure that your technology is up-to-date is optimized to do so. Does your donation platform have the capability to process recurring donations effectively? Some of the important features you should look for in good fundraising software are:
- Visible options for recurring donations
- Donors should have the ability to easily manage their monthly donations
- Mobile-friendly and desktop optimized user interface
- Ability to accept donations from social media pages
Make use of storytelling.
Storytelling is a powerful tool for any nonprofit organization that is looking to attract potential donors. Stories speak to our hearts and encourage people to make decisions on an emotional level.
Use the power of storytelling to compel users to invest in your nonprofit through recurring donations. Videos are an easy, effective storytelling tool that achieve a high level of engagement. Consider investing in the creation of a video that shares the real-world impact of monthly donations. Try to keep videos no longer than 1 minute to ensure they’re easily accessible and sharable across your social media channels.
Promote your recurring gift option.
Shout it from the rooftops: your nonprofit accepts recurring gifts!
If you’re not making it known that recurring gifts are an incredibly valuable and impactful option for donors, they’ll never know! Promote your recurring gift program on social media, create a landing page on your website totally dedicated to recurring gifts, create social media and email campaigns about your recurring gift program. Anything to get the word out there that not only do you accept recurring gifts, but the impact of monthly donations is incredible.
Shine a spotlight on your recurring donors.
Everyone enjoys a little recognition. Identify recurring donors who are ok with being featured and shine a spotlight on their incredible gift. This can be as simple as a dedicated blog post or social media post thanking this particular donor for the incredible impact they’re making. When non-donors or one-time donors see this friendly bit of recognition, it may motivate them to become a recurring donor themselves.
Give recurring donors a special thank you.
These donors are your most loyal supporters. Ensure that you’re thanking them properly. When someone signs up for recurring donation, instead of simply sending them a run-of-the-mill confirmation email, give them a call or send them a hand-written note — something that tells them that you’ve noticed their incredible contribution and you’re not taking it for granted.
Along those same lines, ensure that you’re communications with recurring donors are segmented — don’t lump their communications in with one-time donors. They deserve communications that are tailored to the fact that they are making a greater contribution and impact.
Engage with your recurring donors.
Have you ever heard of a “non-ask” campaign? This is a way of communicating with your supporters without asking them for more contributions. Your recurring donors are already giving you monthly contributions. It’s important to create a relationship with them based on sharing news and updates on the impact they’re making. This gives these donors an even stronger sense of purpose within your organization and shows them that you see and appreciate their generosity.
Another way to engage your recurring donors is by asking for their feedback. By including them in the conversation, you’re further ensuring them that their contributions, both monetary and non-monetary, are important.
Upgrade your existing recurring donors.
If you’re treating your recurring donors well using the strategies above, there’s a chance they’ll be amenable to the idea of increasing their monthly donation. While you never want to hound your recurring donors for more money, a yearly ask in the form of an email or phone call is acceptable. These donors are already deeply invested in your cause. If they continue to see the impact their donations are making, and continue to feel appreciated by your organization, it’s not far-fetched that, if they’re able, they’ll want to up their contribution.
Look for monthly donors within your organization and community.
Inviting people from your board, volunteers, and staff can be a great source of recurring donors. Ask your board members and staff to try to identify potential recurring donor candidates in their own lives. Their personal connections with their own family and friends should motivate them to become monthly givers.
Monthly donations are a good way to ensure sustainability and stability in your nonprofit. We know attracting and retaining long-term regular donors requires a good amount of time and effort, but we also know that effort is totally worth it in the long-run.