The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

6 Ways to Create a Habit of Giving

Many psychological studies have shown the power of habit. Once people have established a behavior, they are primed to stick with it. Changing a habit takes a lot of effort and when the reward is consistent, these routines are almost impossible to interrupt.

The best part is that this holds true for good habits, not just our questionable ones. Fundraisers can use this principle to nurture a pattern of generosity. What if you could make giving a habit for your donors? One really effective way to do this is with a strong recurring giving program. Here’s how:

  1. Make it a priority for your organization. To begin a monthly giving habit for your supporters, you first need to make it a habit within your organization. To do this, include recurring giving targets in your marketing and fundraising goals, and make it a point to discuss your monthly giving program any time you talk about your fundraising strategy. Add appeals for monthly giving to your communications plan and create a special donor relations track for your sustainers.
  2. Always leave the door open for recurring giving. Habits rely on cues to signal a behavior. In your fundraising appeals, on your website, and on your online donation pages, always highlight the option to make a recurring gift. Well-positioned recurring gifts give supporters more flexibility and allow them to make a bigger impact. Also, don’t forget to follow up with one-time donors and ask them to consider becoming monthly sustainers. Donors give more over time and you have a steady stream of dependable funds.
  3. Make it easy. Do everything you can to make it dead simple for your donors to opt for and set up a recurring gift. Of course, online giving makes this hassle free. With services like DonateNow, recurring donations are automatically processed—no extra effort for you or your donors. Do a quick test run of your monthly giving program. When you think you’ve made your recurring donation process easy, try simplifying it even further. Then ask yourself, is it easy enough?
  4. Make an offer they can’t refuse. In line with making it easy, is your monthly giving offer compelling enough? Break down your monthly giving amounts into meaningful actions that attach a reasonable monthly ask to a measurable outcome. Tell specific stories that show the collective impact of your sustainers and highlight how every member of your program makes a difference.
  5. Start donors as recurring donors. Want to establish a routine that helps your donors expand their impact and improves your revenue and retention goals? Small monthly gifts can be an manageable entry point for new donors. A gift of $15 or $20 a month feels more doable than a one-time gift of $100. Of course, once they’ve created their monthly gift, it’s easy for them to keep it going.
  6. Focus on the reward. Habits are reinforced by rewards, and the good feeling of helping others is huge. Make sure monthly giving is a gratifying experience from the donation confirmation page to the first thank you to ongoing recognition. Let your monthly donors see exactly how their contributions add up and how they make your mission a reality.

Need some help with your monthly giving program? Want to win some cash? Network for Good’s Recurring Giving Challenge has you covered. Take the Challenge and get step-by-step guidance with our free e-course. Plus, NFG clients are eligible for Challenge Rewards and get access to campaign templates and personalized coaching. Find out more and sign up today!

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About This Blog

Amanda Khoury
Marketing Manager

We’re here to help you win hearts and minds—and donations.

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