You’ve put a lot of work into recruiting recurring gifts from your supporters. Once you have monthly donors on board, you can just coast, right?
Even though they have set up and committed to a recurring gift, you still need to cultivate and build relationships with these donors. While thanking monthly donors isn’t much different than thanking donors in general, there is one big difference: you have a lot more riding on monthly donors, as their lifetime value is likely to be much greater than your average one-time donor.
Use your thank you letter as an opportunity to show gratitude, but also to lay the groundwork for a long-term relationship. Donor gratitude is so important we have an entire guide devoted just to this very topic. Here are four musts for your thank yous to monthly donors:
1. Be prompt:
In addition to an immediate, personalized confirmation that their gift was processed successfully, you should thank your sustainers within a few days of setting up their recurring donation. Have a plan in place to make this happen quickly and make it a priority. Your goal is to keep that warm fuzzy feeling going as soon as possible after the gift was initiated. You may wish to send an email, a written note, or follow up with a phone call. It wouldn’t hurt to do all three over the course of those first few months once someone joins your monthly giving program.
2. Be personal:
In addition to addressing the donor by name, sign your thank you letter from a real person. Promise me that you won’t send thank yous that start out with “dear friend” or “dear supporter.” Not only is it boring and mechanical, it sends a signal of “we can’t be bothered.” Also, get creative with who signs your electronic and mailed letters–a board member, a volunteer, or a beneficiary can add significance to your acknowledgment. Make sure there is a real live human behind your stewardship efforts.
3. Be genuine:
Express your sincere gratitude and let your monthly donors know what their ongoing support will mean for your organization. Tell a short, emotion-filled story or share an example that shows the human impact of a recurring gift. Remind the donor what they are making possible. Tug at the heartstrings and bring your mission to life. This reinforces your donor’s decision to give a sustaining gift.
4. Be specific:
I covered the idea of specificity earlier this month, but it bears repeating because it’s so important. Include details about when, why, and what the donor is giving and which programs or results their recurring gift will support. All donors want to know that their gift is making a difference, and rich details help donors know their gift was noticed and appreciated.
Want more help thanking your monthly donors? Download our Recurring Donor Communication Guide and Templates for examples you can use today.
By Caryn Stein