If you’re not familiar with the term yet, a “subscription gift” is one that is made on a recurring basis whereby the donor is “subscribing” to support a nonprofit organization’s mission and beneficiaries and receiving additional engagement opportunities in return. It’s not just about what donors can do for nonprofit organizations, it’s about creating a special relationship between those donors and the nonprofit organization that is exciting for everyone. Promoting “subscription gifts” rather than “monthly gifts,” for example, can lead to better donor relationships and longer retention. For a deeper give into Subscription Giving, check out our eGuide here.
If you can encourage a prospect to make their first gift a subscription gift rather than a one-time gift, they are more likely to support your organization for a longer period of time. This is especially important now when, according to a Giving Tuesday report on U.S. Giving Data and Trends, donor retention has declined and small donations between $101 and $500 have grown by 11%.
Step 1: Segment your contacts
To create a filter to use as your mailing list, log in to your fundraising software, go to Contacts, Custom Filters, and enter “Total Donation Amount (Lifetime)” / “Equals” / “0.” This will show you everyone in your fundraising software that has zero donations recorded (your non-donors).
Step 2: Create a dedicated everyday giving page for subscription gifts.
If you are promoting monthly gifts, for example, set your default donation frequency to monthly but offer one-time gifts as an option as well. Offer two buttons on your homepage and in your email blasts to direct your contacts where they want to go – either a general everyday giving page for any type of gift or this new, dedicated everyday giving page specifically for subscription gifts.
Step 3: Make becoming a subscriber sound exciting!
How you choose to promote subscription giving is completely up to you and different nonprofits will take different approaches. If you decide that you want to brand your subscription giving group, you could consider coming up with a name for the group and a unique visual identity so that your communications have a consistent look and feel. Whatever you decide, make sure that your contacts know that you are not just asking them to “set it and forget it,” you’re asking them to actively subscribe to be a part of something and that they are joining other kind, caring individuals when they do so.
Step 4: Highlight the benefits of being a subscriber, and make sure you follow through with them.
We all know why subscription gifts are great for nonprofit organizations (they lead to longer term relationships, more reliable donations, and more engaged donors), but do your donors know why subscription gifts are good for them too? Explain the benefits in terms of the impact that they will be making for you and your beneficiaries, any exclusive communications or stewardship gifts they will receive, how easy it is to set up and make changes if they need to, etc. For communication templates designed specifically for subscription giving, head over to the Knowledge Base and look under “2021 Engagement Plans.” Additional tips are available here.
Step 5: As you begin receiving subscription gifts from these new donors, welcome them with open arms.
Make sure you have a thank you email or direct mail template ready to go as soon as they make their first gift, as well as a welcome kit so they really feel as though they have joined something special. Create a filter to use as your mailing list (“Donor Status” / “Equals” / “Recurring”) and keep in touch with this group at least once a month, personalizing your outreach so they know it’s going specifically to them. As you reach out to them about other things throughout the year (upcoming events, your year-end campaign, etc.), look for opportunities to tailor their communications so it’s sent to them as a member of your group, and not the prospect they once were.
By Paige Jarret. Paige is a Network for Good Personal Fundraising Coach based in Philadelphia, PA.