The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

Amplify Your Fundraising with Recurring Gifts

Does your nonprofit offer donors a recurring giving plan? If not, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table and ignoring some very dedicated supporters. Small monthly gifts can add up to a hefty sum at year end—maybe as much as four times your current donation rate. If you’re looking for a path to sustainable income, setting up a monthly giving program is the ideal way to get there.

Monthly Giving Calendar

What is monthly giving?

Also called recurring gifts, monthly giving plans simply allow donors to give a specified amount every month. It’s common in Europe, where donors are comfortable with the idea of “subscribing” to charities in the form of an automatic monthly credit card charge or electronic funds transfer (EFT). European nonprofits typically have 80% of their donors on a monthly giving plan.

In a recent Nonprofit 911 webinar on recurring giving, only 24% of participants said their organization has a monthly giving program. We have a little work to do here, but recurring gifts are starting to gain momentum.

Who are your monthly donors?

Typically, monthly donors are what we’d call small givers, as in $100 or less per year. Unlike once-a-year donors, however, they’re super-committed and really care about your organization and its mission. They give automatically and usually with no end date. In fact, some organizations have monthly donors who’ve been giving that way for 20 years or more.

Recurring gifts are great for reaching smaller donors who want to make a bigger difference but can’t write that $250 check. Many are happy to give just $10 or $20 per month, which is like writing a big check but shows even more commitment.

Why is monthly giving so important?

The primary benefit to recurring gifts, of course, is having regular income to sustain your nonprofit’s mission. You can count on a certain amount of money coming in each month and throughout your planning year.

You’ll also get more money over time. Let’s say you have 100 one-time donors who each give $35. That equals $3,500 for the year. But when 100 people give $35 per month for a year? That’s $15,500 to benefit your cause. You’ve more than quadrupled your annual revenue!

Another benefit: vastly improved retention rates. New-donor retention rates average less than 23%, meaning that only 23 of 100 first-time donors give again the next year. Of those 23 who renew their donations, you’ll typically retain only 61%, or 14 donors. Monthly giving programs, on the other hand, typically enjoy retention rates of 86% after one year and 95% after five years.

The moral of the story: If you want to increase giving, build sustainable income, and improve retention rates, including a recurring gift option on your donation page is an absolute must.

Adapted from Network for Good’s Nonprofit 911 webinar “How You Can Generate Long-Term Revenue from Recurring Giving” with Erica Waasdorp, president of A Direct Solution and author of Monthly Giving: The Sleeping Giant. Download the archived presentation.

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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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