A Simple (and Smart) Way to Increase Fundraising by Year-End

Guest post by Amy Eisenstein

Do you have a Monthly Giving Program?yes

If not, you should!

Here’s how establishing Monthly Giving can enhance your year-end fundraising campaign.

I rarely have a guest blogger at Fired-Up Fundraising, but I wanted to bring you the very smart Amy Eisenstein today. 

She’s really a major gift expert (have you taken the Major Gifts Challenge yet?)  and you can find out lots from her own blog.  And this year, she’s focusing on Monthly Giving because it offers such huge $$ potential for all nonprofits.   Here’s Amy’s post: 

Why Monthly Giving?

There are two very important reasons to enact a monthly giving program:

Amy Eisenstein

Amy Eisenstein ACFRE

  • Monthly giving helps build your base of supporters, which often leads to major gifts.
  • Monthly giving provides a reliable, steady stream of income for your organization.

You know the saying, slow and steady wins the race?

That especially applies to fundraising with major gifts and monthly giving. Fundraising isn’t fast, but monthly giving is an EASY way to attract new donors, and keep them for the long term, as well as increasing current donor’s giving levels.

Let’s take a quick look at the numbers.

You have a $50 per year donor who often gives in response to your year-end holiday appeal. This year, instead you ask that person to consider a gift of only $10 per month.

That’s an extra $70, not to mention a higher chance of donor retention.

4 Steps to a successful monthly giving program

Setting up a monthly giving program is well worth the time and effort. Here are four essential steps to ensure your program’s success.

1.  Make sure you have the technology in place to support your program. This means that the credit cards of “members” (of the monthly giving club) would be automatically charged each month. If possible, allow donors to give directly from their bank accounts.

2.  Do not accept less than $10 per month — it’s not worth the processing fees.

3.  Have a stewardship strategy in place before you begin (i.e., how will you thank you donors?).

An established monthly giving program will have your donors giving and giving again and again.

An established monthly giving program will have your donors giving and giving again and again.

4.  Create systems for:  1.) Monitoring credit cards for expiration dates; and 2.) Moving people up (to higher levels) after they’ve given for a year or more.

Monthly Giving Lessons from the Field

You can learn a lot about what to do (or NOT) from the mistakes made by these organizations…

Kids Going to Camp

I worked with an organization which served low income children with disabilities. They tried to implement a monthly giving type program before I started working with them.

They asked for $50 per month to support a child going to camp, which was $600. However, they were unclear in their materials (and amongst themselves) what would happen at the end of the year and camp had been paid for. After a year’s time, they simply stopped charging the donors’ credit cards.

The beauty of a monthly giving club is that it goes on FOREVER, until the donor asks you to stop (which rarely happens) or their credit card expires (which happens much more often than you’d think — so it’s something to be mindful of).

Helping Victims of Domestic Violence

Recently, I started working with a battered women’s shelter. We just implemented a monthly giving program.

The shelter does “virtual” tours, because they can’t do real tours to protect the location and privacy of the women and children they serve. At the end of the tour, the development director used to say something like:

You can help by volunteering, donating food and school supplies, or making a donation.

And then hand them a form to donate on. Can you guess how many people actually gave money?

Wouldn't you like to turn your occasional donors into frequent donors?

Wouldn’t you like to turn your occasional donors into frequent donors?

If you said none, you’re right.

To turn this around, now at the end of the tour the development director says:

The number one way you can help is to join our monthly giving club. We are asking people to consider joining for $35 per month in honor of our 35th anniversary, but you can also join for as little as $10 per month. The choice is yours, and you can cancel at any time.

Then she hands them a form to join immediately. The first time she did this, all three people on the tour signed up to give monthly!

The Numbers Tell All

Let’s look at some ideal monthly gifts and see what they amount to annually.

  • $10 / month  =  $120 / year
  • $15 / month  =  $180 / year
  • $20 / month  =  $240 / year
  • $50 / month  =  $600 / year

I’ll bet you have many $100 donors who would consider $15 or even $20 per month, thereby increasing their annual gift by almost 100% (or more, in many cases).

Get Your Board Involved in Monthly Giving, Too!

Wish your board helped more with fundraising?

Challenge them to solicit their friends and family for monthly gifts. It’s a simple, doable task that most board members are willing and able to handle.

The reason that many board members don’t help with fundraising is that they don’t understand what they should do.

However, they are more than happy to help when given a specific task. Use this to your advantage. Ask them to recruit three new members for your monthly giving club at a minimum of $10 per month.

More Simple Things You Can Do

Enacting a monthly giving program is a simple and effective way to raise more money.

You’ll find several other simple things — many of which you’re NOT doing — to raise even more money in my two complementary eBooks:

  • Simple Things You’re NOT Doing to Raise More Money
  • 6 Essential Secrets for Board Retreats that Work

Get both eBooks FREE at my website, and best wishes for your fundraising success!

Amy Eisenstein, ACFRE, is a respected author, speaker, and fundraising consultant, as well as the owner of Tri Point Fundraising, a full-service nonprofit consulting firm. Her specialty is simplifying the fundraising process for her followers and clients.