Technology, Email and Monthly Giving

David A. Mersky imageTechnology, Email and Monthly Giving:

Part 8 in Creating a Monthly Giving Program

Do you remember the quote, “For want of a nail…”?

The line opens a bit of verse, often attributed to Benjamin Franklin, that tells the tale of how even the most insignificant element can cost you the world.  For the want of a nail…the kingdom was lost.”

If you want to read the entire, brief poem, here it is:

“For the want of a nail the shoe was lost,
For the want of a shoe the horse was lost,
For the want of a horse the rider was lost,
For the want of a rider the battle was lost,
For the want of a battle the kingdom was lost,
And all for the want of a horseshoe-nail.”

The same can be true about your monthly giving program.  The least little thing can torpedo your best laid plans.

In these past seven months, we have spent time outlining the development of a monthly giving program.  The primary motivation for exploring the values of program to create a group of sustaining supporters is to address issue of the “leaky bucket” of donor retention.  We have gone into a fair amount of detail.  Now it is time—before you pull the trigger—to make sure that everything is working like clockwork.


If it is not easy and accessible for your donors and prospects, then you will end up with the “abandoned shopping cart.”  People with limited attention spans and low levels of tolerance for frustration, will not consummate the transaction.

In a word, it’s got to be seamless.  Here is how to find out

Make an online gift to your own organization

  • Is the process easy and straightforward?You should only ask for the most basic, required information and nothing more.  The more you make the donor work, the less likely they will finish the transaction.
  • What kind of error message do you receive if you enter your card’s expiration date incorrectly?Is it a friendly and tinged with a touch of self-deprecating humor?  Don’t be critical of the donor.  After all, they are trying to help you and your organization.  Take responsibility and ownership for the mistake as if it were your own.
  • What kind of “thank you” or “welcome” message do you receive?Even though this initial communication is automated, it should be personalized for the donor and recognize the amount of the gift.  It should also tell them what to expect in terms of the monthly charge to their credit card or withdrawal from their bank account.Above all, this is the time to show your true appreciation.But, it is not the end, but the beginning of a series of seven different acknowledgement and touches of recognition.  You can learn about the Seven Ways to Thank Your Donor by clicking here.

Research has shown, that even though we send a “snail mail” invitation to prospective sustaining supporters to join our special circle of most valued donors, the majority of people today will turn to your web site.  So in your mailing—even though you have provided a gift form and a reply envelope—you should put a link to the monthly giving subscriber page, probably in P.S.

And, then, in your planning, you should create a series of three to five follow-up emails, each focused upon a different feature and benefit of becoming a Sustainer.  This will markedly increase the likelihood of a positive response.  And in the email, the link to the right page on your web site will be prominently featured several times.

Finally, for those people who are your most technologically savvy and deep into social media, you should support your solicitation on a multi-channel basis, using FaceBook, LinkedIn, and every other place where you might be present and your donors could meet you.

Then, you will have provided the “nails” and the kingdom and the glory of a robust monthly giving program will not be lost.

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