Growing Monthly Giving

David A. Mersky imageWhile driving from one meeting to another last week, I found myself entranced (but, not distracted) while listening to my local NPR station, WGBH in Boston.  It was not the latest news of the interminable election campaign nor was it a favorite piece of classical music.

It was the Fall on-air and online fund drive for member support.  Jim Braude and Margery Egan host a three hour, midday program called Boston Public Radio.  And, there they were pitching for contributions—with an emphasis on asking people to become sustainers with a monthly contribution of $10 or $15.

As I conclude this series, let’s focus on those things you can do to assure that you are growing monthly giving as relationships with your donors deepen.

  1. To have launched your monthly giving program, you have had to secure the commitment of everyone on your team. Your colleagues in the development shop as well as the leadership—both professional and volunteer—of the entire agency.  To grow the program requires an ever-increasing engagement of all these stakeholders who will advocate for monthly giving and its value both to the donor and the organization.
  1. To assure the continued investment of your team as well as your ever-growing group of monthly sustainers will require creativity, focus and patience. It takes time to “acculturate” donors accustomed to making a one-time, hopefully recurring, annual gift to convert to monthly donors.  It takes even more patience to manage the expectations of your colleagues on the staff who may not provide you with a long enough runway for the program to take off.
  1. By communicating regularly, informing frequently, following up after every interaction and thanking, thanking, thanking, you know you will increase the likelihood of ongoing, and ever-increasing support from your donors. The same is true to maintain the support of the staff and leadership the organization.  Regular reporting about the metrics that matter will keep them engaged.  Asking them to participate in the stewardship process of acknowledging and expressing special appreciation to monthly sustainers will enable them to feel as if they are contributing to the success of the effort.
  1. You know that you should continually ask for feedback from your donors. This is even more true of your monthly sustainers—your most precious supporters.  Among the questions you might ask are
    • What first motivated you to support us?
    • What about our work are you most passionate?
    • Do you think we are doing a good job?
    • Have you/would you consider leaving a gift in your will to us?

Similarly, you should ask your colleagues about their feedback about the program.  You might suggest that all staff and board members become monthly sustainers so that they too can see how the program works as well as ask others to join them.  In that way, they become true partners in the development effort.

As you keep on stewarding donors and their relationships, engaging board and staff in the process, featuring monthly giving (and your focus on growing month giving), add the names and profiles of your sustainers on your home page and newsletter, your program will grow and grow and grow.

I am eager to learn about your successes. Please Email me to let me know how you fare—or if you need a bit of advice or encouragement.

Last Month: Technology, Email and Monthly Giving

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