The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

Why Your Nonprofit Needs a Monthly Giving Program

When you’re investing your nonprofit’s limited resources in donor acquisition and marketing, it’s crucial to find ways to maximize that investment. The secret is to build value over time with your monthly giving program. You want to get new donors in the door, but it’s even more important to get them to stick around for the long haul. Here are some great reasons to focus on recurring giving:

Monthly donors give more money over time. Based on Network for Good data, monthly donors give an average of 42% more in one year than people who give one-time gifts.

You’ll reach more segments—and empower younger donors. Folks who might not be ready or able to give a larger individual gifts—and this includes the increasingly important millennial segment—often respond positively to the idea of giving more over time via smaller, budget-friendly amounts.

Monthly donors are more loyal. First-year retention rates for monthly donors average a whopping 80% versus the considerably lower 25% rate of returning annual donors.

When you set up your monthly giving program, you’re really creating a sense of community. Sure, it’s also about convenience—making it possible to give (and to give more—but to your donor, it’s more about the individual and collective impact of joining your nonprofit’s community.

Here are some things to consider when building your monthly giving program:

Determine Your Goal

Beyond raising a certain amount of dollars, what’s your monthly giving program trying to accomplish? For your organization, that might be:

  • Another family receives a warm meal.
  • One more animal is saved from abuse.
  • A village gains access to clean drinking water.

Make your goal something special and specific that your monthly donors can make possible, and frame your program and campaign around that goal.

Consider Your Targets

Your most likely monthly donor segments depend on your organization and your relationship with your constituent community. Common targets are your volunteers or board members. A great group to start with is people who give within a certain donation amount—for instance, those who currently give less than $200 per year. You can divide that into what feels like a manageable monthly amount and gradually work to increase it over time.

Recently lapsed donors offer a good opportunity to reach out and ask why they haven’t given. If their answer is that they couldn’t afford it or didn’t think their gift would have much impact, then they might be very open to the idea of monthly giving so they can see their impact multiply over time.

Ask with a Monthly Lens

Look at your existing appeals, especially those that worked really well for you last year, and find ways to modify them to speak specifically to monthly giving. Create options that make it easy to say yes: Use big, bold statements, and offer multiple, super-easy avenues to jump into the donation flow and start the monthly gift process. Online giving in particular offers donors the instant gratification of clicking through and becoming part of the program.

Adapted from Network for Good’s Nonprofit 911 webinar “Raise More and Retain Donors with a Monthly Giving Program,” with Caryn Stein, vice president of communications and content at Network for Good

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About This Blog

Connie Poulos
Senior Associate, Copywriter

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

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