The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

What’s Your Ask: One-Time or Monthly Giving?

Did you donate to the relief effort for victims of the Nepal earthquake a few months ago? I contributed via GlobalGiving, thanks to the on-the-ground guidance of a friend living there.

Nepal Earthquake Relief Fund Image

Here’s the donation page I encountered, and I have to tell you, I was confused.

Take a close look. You’ll see that GlobalGiving asks donors to choose between one-time and monthly giving. In fact, rather than finding the emphasis on asap funds that I anticipated, the matching gift opportunity for monthly gifts motivated me to give that way.

My expectation of the emphasis on right-now, one-time donations was pure assumption, but the double ask spurred my curiosity on what the expert GlobalGiving fundraisers were up to. So I was thrilled to learn their take on the importance of monthly relief giving in the thank you email I received shortly after my gift:

Making a recurring donation is an easy way to ensure that your favorite projects receive ongoing support. … In the coming months, you’ll receive authentic progress updates as they are posted by the projects. You’ll know how your contribution is being put to work and the results that are being achieved.

A few days later, I came to understand even more via this project report email:

Thank you for being part of an incredible global community that is deeply committed to building and supporting a community of local nonprofits, who, after disasters, are often best positioned to provide the long-term recovery work that communities need long after the news stories have faded from the headlines.

Thanks so much to these fundraising experts who opened my eyes to the value of long-view disaster-relief funding. Not to mention the matching gift.

How do you decide whether to ask for a one-time or monthly donation or both? Please share your responses in the comments section. Thank you.

P.S. GlobalGiving’s twofold ask for a one-time and a monthly donation did confuse me. As a rule, I recommend making one ask—a single call to action—at a time. Nobody can do two things at once. Pushing your people to sequence two steps or to decide between two alternatives is work. It’s likely to diminish response.

But this example is tricky. The time sensitivity of disaster fundraising limits the opportunity for a series of one-at-a-time asks. The matching gift offer for monthly donations was time limited as well. However, many folks, like me, think of relief giving as a one-off. What would you have done?


With refreshing practicality, Nancy Schwartz rolls up her sleeves to help nonprofits develop and implement strategies to build strong relationships that inspire key supporters to action. She shares her deep nonprofit marketing insights—and passion—through consulting, speaking, and her popular blog and e-news at GettingAttention.org.

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Linda Lombardi
Content Manager

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

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