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success guaranteed.

We guarantee you'll
raise more in your first
year or your money back.

Terms and conditions apply

What Is Recurring Giving? A Guide to Recurring Donations

Recurring giving is when a donor chooses to make regular, ongoing donations to your nonprofit. These consistent gifts, known as recurring donations, help your organization’s long-term fundraising success and retention goals. Like monthly subscriptions to your favorite streaming service, recurring donations can provide a sustainable and reliable revenue stream for your nonprofit. 

In this short guide, we’ll look at the specific ways recurring donations can benefit your nonprofit and the tools needed to implement an impactful program. 

5 Ways a Recurring Giving Program Can Boost Your Fundraising Results

A recurring giving program can be a valuable part of a nonprofit’s overall fundraising strategy. Well-positioned recurring donation options will allow you to increase both the size and volume of your overall funding. 

1. Recurring Donations = More Donations

According to research on nonprofit giving, the average recurring donor will give 42% more in one year than those who give one-time gifts. 

2. Recurring Donations = More Donors

Often, if donors feel like they can’t give enough to make a difference, they may not give at all. A smart monthly giving program will help you reach new segments of your audience by showing donors how to fit giving into their monthly budgets. 

For example, although Millennials and Gen Z may not be ready to give larger individual gifts, the Millennial Impact Report found that 52% of Millennials are interested in monthly giving as a way to donate, providing you with the opportunity to capture their interest and raise more over time.

3. Recurring Donations = More Engaged Donors

Recurring donors will often become your most engaged supporters, actively volunteering, advocating, and fundraising on your organization’s behalf. A recurring giving program offers you the opportunity to regularly communicate with these loyal supporters, keeping them engaged, updated, and inspired about your purpose.

4. Recurring Donations = More Loyal Donors

While new donor retention rates average less than 20%, monthly giving programs typically enjoy retention rates of over 80% after the first year and over 95% after year five. Ultimately, you’ll get a better return on your donor acquisition investment if you can encourage more one-time donors to become recurring donors.

5. Recurring Donations = Higher Lifetime Donor Value

Having more loyal donors directly equates to an increased donor lifetime value. According to fundraising expert Dr. Adrian Sargeant, a 10% improvement in your donor retention rate can result in a 200% increase in donor lifetime value. Since you only need to convert your recurring donors once—compared to having to solicit multiple, separate donations from one-time donors—your organization saves money for your marketing and programming.

Choosing the Right Tools to Accept Recurring Donations Online

Ready to start accepting recurring donations? For a successful monthly giving program, it’s important to have the right online fundraising tools to make the whole experience as easy as possible for your donors and staff. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A donation page built for giving: Your online donation page must offer an easy and clear monthly giving option. Create a page dedicated to recurring giving campaigns, and add a robust monthly giving ask to your standard campaign pages.
  • A branded design: Your online giving experience should look and feel like your nonprofit’s website and campaign materials. Having a professional and familiar design will make your donors more likely to give.
  • Easy follow-up and admin: Your online donation platform should automatically send receipts and thank yous and allow donors to easily update their information.
  • Customizable options: Your online donation page should allow you to provide suggested donation amounts, set custom gift strings, and add impact labels to reinforce what a monthly donation can do.
  • Reports and tracking: Your online giving system should offer real-time reporting of gifts and allow you to track monthly donors over time.
  • A clean and clear website: Make sure to include details about recurring donations and why it matters on your key website pages, including your “Why Give” page, your home page, and pages that highlight donor impact.
  • Email marketing: Use a reputable email marketing tool that will allow you to segment your email list and tailor your messages for monthly donors and recurring giving campaigns.

Before launching your recurring donation program, make sure you have these tools in place and ready to go. We recommend using an all-in-one solution that allows you to easily run your entire recurring gift program from a single dashboard. 

Next Steps

A smart recurring giving program can help you acquire donors, boost revenue, and improve your retention rates. Use these additional resources to find and capture recurring donations: 

5 Steps to a Successful Nonprofit Year-End
How Your Nonprofit Can Effectively Engage Gen Z Donors in Year-End Fundraising
How to Measure Performance of Your Nonprofit’s Google Ad Grants Campaign
A Beginner’s Guide to Setting Up Your Nonprofit’s First Google Ad Grants Campaign