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How Recurring Giving Creates Sustainable Revenue

By Elizabeth McDonough

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Reading Time: 4 minutes

Imagine if your nonprofit no longer had to worry about the seasonal lulls in giving. On top of this, you could count on a reliable stream of monthly revenue. Life would be a lot less stressful, not to mention the tremendous impact this would have on the long-term financial health of your organization.

Recently, we hosted a webinar with Kindred Image, a start-up nonprofit working to end child abandonment in South Korea. As a relatively new nonprofit, they were looking for ways to achieve financial sustainability and their team decided to invest in their first recurring giving campaign.

In the webinar, Will Tober, Kindred Image’s director of development, shares the story behind their recurring giving program, The Legacy. Will dives into best practices and what it takes to plan, design, and launch a monthly gift campaign.

Here’s a quick peek into some of the key steps he covered, and you can watch the full presentation through the link below.

1. Establish a Plan

The key to launching a successful recurring giving program is contingent upon a solid plan. Just like you can’t build a home without a foundation, you can’t expect to start receiving monthly gifts without a strategy. During the webinar, we cover the first three steps you need to complete before doing anything else. Will shares how these steps helped Kindred Image structure The Legacy and what nonprofits need to focus on as they are building the strategy for their own recurring giving program.

  • Step 1 Identify your goals: Establish what metrics you’re going to use to measure the campaign’s success. A few to consider include monthly recurring revenue, the number of monthly donors, and monthly gift increases.
  • Step 2 Identify your audience: Determine the groups of people you are going to target. Ideally, these people are good recurring giving candidates and are likely to support your campaign. A good place to start is to identify those who have given sizable gifts in the past and supporters who have given more than once.
  • Step 3 Create a promotion plan and calendar: Without any marketing, it will be difficult to raise awareness for your campaign. You’ll need to establish a communication timeline, which will allow you to map out the key communications from the campaign’s start to finish. Other suggestions include kicking things off with a soft launch on your website and reaching out to your most dedicated supporters first, who will help build momentum for the hard launch of the campaign.

2. Design

After establishing your plan, the second key part to a recurring giving program is the design. It’s important that the campaign stand out, while meshing with your organization’s set brand and tone. In the webinar, we first discuss design best practices and the ways they can be used to better engage with supporters. Will dives into how Kindred Image established The Legacy’s branding and the ways they incorporated it into every aspect of the campaign.

  • Brand your campaign: You don’t want donors to get confused with other fundraising initiatives on your site. An easy way to do this is to give your program a name and treat it as a special group that donors can join for investing in your work. Kindred Image was able to do this by creating a unique campaign logo to represent The Legacy. The way they positioned it also helped make it distinct from the other ways to give on their website. It is very clear to supporters that if you commit to a monthly gift, you’re joining “a community of monthly donors helping create a culture of life.”
  • Create a campaign microsite: Since your website is the base of your operations, it’s important that you have a strong presence online. This should be the place where you direct people to learn more about your campaign and where you highlight the special privileges that monthly supporters receive. For example, Kindred Image uses The Legacy’s microsite to explain the purpose behind the program and the impact of a monthly gift. This is driven home by the strong imagery that connects donors to the cause on the page.
  • Customize the donation process: Don’t forget to brand the donation process. The messaging and imagery on your donation pages should tie back to the campaign’s initial ask. This streamlines the process and eliminates any hesitation that a supporter may have after landing on a donation page. For a recurring giving campaign, it’s a best practice to create a donation page that only gives supporters the option to commit to a monthly gift. Kindred Image also swaps out their Donate Now button to read, Join The Legacy. These simple changes optimize the donation process and can make a big impact on the success of your campaign.

3. Campaign Kickoff Checklist

Now for the fun part, launching your campaign. To wrap up the webinar, Will shares a campaign kickoff checklist of five things you should do to support the launch of your campaign. He walks through the ways Kindred Image reaches out to their supporters and continues to optimize their communication strategy to recruit new donors.

  1. Write email appeals: When it’s time to officially launch your campaign, you need to reach out to your network and communicate why monthly support is vital to your organization. Take the time to write email appeals that will motivate people to join your recurring giving community. A best practice is to include images that tie monthly gifts to impact or link to a blog post to make the cause more tangible.
  2. Segment communications: Rather than sending the same appeal to every contact in your database, find time to segment your supporter base into different groups. This will allow you to create tailored email appeals for each. For example, Kindred Image sent two different emails, one to current Legacy donors and another to those who had yet to join. The current Legacy donors were asked to increase their monthly gift size, while the other group was strictly asked to join the Legacy campaign.
  3. Launch a social campaign: Use your social channels to spread the news of your recurring giving program. This is a fun way to give insight into your program to a larger audience. It’s also a great way to engage with your supporters throughout the campaign by sharing campaign milestones and updates.
  4. Develop relationships with recurring donors: After you launch your campaign, the work doesn’t stop. Establish some sort of ongoing communication with recurring donors so they continued to feel connected with your work. Consider creating a monthly email or newsletter. You can even brand the email to your recurring giving program.
  5. Maintain and optimize: There’s always room for improvement and growth. Track where new donors are coming in from and use data to create more targeted communications over time.

Watch the Full Presentation

Our webinar has all the information you need to build a sustainable stream of revenue. Watch the entire presentation to learn more about how your organization can benefit from recurring giving and strategies to help get your campaign up and running.

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