Matt Scott is the Chief Executive Officer of CauseMic, a digital cause marketing and fundraising agency specializing in helping Classy clients leverage technology to scale fundraising and supporter engagement. For strategic help in developing, launching, and managing your monthly giving program, connect with his team at CauseMic.com.
Monthly donor retention is essential to the long-term strength of a monthly giving program.
After you’ve established the fundamentals of your monthly giving program and kicked-off an effective promotional strategy, you’re ready to consider how to best nurture your established base of supporters over time.
The goal is to retain those donors and to maintain and even grow your revenue. That’s because when you retain your monthly donors, you also create the opportunity to ask them for an increased monthly gift.
Welcome Monthly Donors the Right Way—Right Away
Make a great first impression with your new monthly donors by sending a warm welcome across multiple channels. This will help you welcome the new donor, show your gratitude, and start telling stories of program and donor impact.
It’s important to utilize multiple channels to ensure you are engaging with your donor on their preferred platform. If timed properly, the thank you feels warm and grateful, rather than scripted or forced.
- Thank You Call – Give the new monthly donor a call to express gratitude for their gift. Voicemails are fine, too!
- Thank You Email – Send a personalized and friendly one-to-one email welcoming your new monthly donor to the program. Share your thanks and explain what kind of special communications or incentives the donor can expect. If you already left them a voicemail, mention that, too.
- Thank You Note – Drop a handwritten (if at scale, use Handwrytten. Tell them CauseMic sent you and you’ll get our special discounted rate) card in the mail to thank the new donor. You could also include a branded sticker or another on-brand giveaway.
- New Monthly Donor Welcome Series – Create an automated email Welcome Series that kicks off by acknowledging the donor’s new donation commitment. Then, move into sharing stories of programmatic impact. Be sure to translate how monthly gifts sustain or make these programmatic gains possible.
PRO TIP: If you have a dedicated monthly program manager or staff contact, this is a great time for that person to make an introduction and share their contact information. A photo can add a personal touch, too.
Nurture Your Monthly Donors Over Time
Monthly donors make a significant sustained investment in your mission. They want and deserve to be appreciated. Show them love!
The most basic way to do that is to communicate personally and consistently. It’s simple, but requires some planning and custom content. It’s also great to delight your monthly donors with surprises, such as special event invites or gifts.
Segment some of your regular communications and draft a specific message to monthly donors. This can be as simple as a custom introduction at the beginning of an email or newsletter that acknowledges the donor’s monthly contribution.
Send VIP Announcements or Invites
If your organization has an announcement to make or is about to open event registration, inform monthly donors a day early. Make sure monthly donors know they’re getting this special treat because of their sustained commitment to your mission.
Create Unique Content
Create special emails or direct mail just for monthly donors. This could include features of monthly donors or special program stories.
Build Impact Email Series
Create an automated email series that is hyper-focused on telling stories and demonstrating programmatic impact to monthly donors. Move monthly donors into this series after they complete the New Monthly Donor Welcome Series.
PRO TIP: If you have an established monthly giving program and haven’t been sending communications tailored to monthly donors, re-engage monthly donors with an Impact Email Series. Share programmatic updates and news highlighting the positive impact of their continued support.
The average monthly donor—across all nonprofits on the Classy platform—is retained for 13 months, according to Classy’s State of Modern Philanthropy. With that as a benchmark, think about setting goals for your monthly giving retention.
The approaches outlined above for welcoming and engaging monthly donors make it much more likely that your monthly donors will be retained, building a strong foundation of predictable income and dedicated donors for your organization.
For additional support growing your monthly giving program, download The Donor Retention Handbook below, or visit CauseMic.com.
Editor’s Note: The State of Modern Philanthropy 2019 is now live. Download and read it to get key retention insights.