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How to Track the ROI of Your Recurring Giving Program

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By Korrin Bishop

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Published January 7, 2022 Reading Time: 4 minutes

Building a successful recurring giving program is a complex job, but the right metrics make it easier to stay on track.

You’ll make key decisions such as the type of program you want to run, how to best tell your recurring giving story, and which donors to target. Once your program is up and running, you’ll spend time maintaining its momentum while you continue to scale it to meet your nonprofit’s goals.

Tracking the return on investment (ROI) for your recurring giving program can help you see what’s working, what’s not, and how to leverage that information to make improvements.

Read on for a look at some of the goals you can set for your recurring giving program to measure your success and plan concrete steps toward achieving them. Below, we’ll discuss three metrics you can track to help you review your goals, evolve your program, and scale it into the future, along with four reports to run to see your progress.

Being able to easily run reports to track your recurring giving program’s ROI will help your staff fully leverage this critical, reliable revenue stream.

Setting Recurring Giving Program Goals

Setting goals for your recurring giving program helps your nonprofit visualize and implement a plan to achieve them. These will also help evolve your initiative from perhaps simply having a recurring gift option on your donation page to a more fully-fledged program. Goals allow you to plan for growth into the future and provide benchmarks against which you can measure your success.

Check out our 2021 Recurring Donor Sentiment Report as you set your goals. We gathered data from over 1,000 recurring donors to find what motivates them to give, incentivizes them to stay, and causes them to leave. Setting goals and using Classy to track your progress toward them can help your nonprofit align your efforts with those findings.

3 Recurring Giving Program Metrics to Track

Below are three key data points that can guide your goal-setting process and demonstrate your recurring giving program’s ROI.

1. Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR)

MRR is the income you can expect to receive each month from your recurring giving program. Lost MRR, also called “churn,” is the monthly income you lose when people cancel their recurring gifts.

By tracking these figures you can set goals for:

  • Target total MRR for the year
  • Percentage increase in MRR from the previous month, quarter, or year
  • Maximum acceptable churn rate

These goals will provide an overview of your program’s success and whether your current investments into it are enough to meet your targets.

2. Number of Active Donors

This measure looks at the total number of your supporters who make recurring gifts. You can use it to set goals around:

  • Target number of supporters to have in your program
  • Number of supporters by which to grow your program each month, quarter, or year

This measure offers a concrete way of reviewing your recurring giving program. Even if you aren’t hitting revenue targets yet, you can see how many people are joining your movement and how each newcomer might be able to encourage their networks to further the cause.

Particularly if you’re just getting your program started, setting a goal for how many supporters you want to convert into recurring donors can help you build momentum and see what is possible.

3. Recurring Gift Increases

Over time, you want recurring givers to increase the size of their donations, even if it’s just by a few dollars. Measure this by setting goals around:

  • The number and percentage of recurring donors who increase their gift size each year
  • How large supporters’ increases are each year

Tracking this helps you sustain your mission and also gauge the overall engagement and commitment of your audience over time.

4 Reports to Measure Success Toward Your Goals

Once you know what data you want to track to measure success and progress, you’ll need to know which report to use and when to accurately determine the ROI of your recurring giving program.

Using a fundraising solution like Classy makes this easy. Classy allows you to access custom reports at any time and share them across your team. You can then use these reports to make pivots to address any gaps in your programs.

Below are a few of the reports you can pull from Classy that can help shed light on the health and growth of your recurring giving program.

1. Returning One-Time Donors

Use this report to see donors who have given more than one donation to your organization. These supporters will likely be more responsive to targeted outreach encouraging them to become recurring donors. This report can assist with any goals you’ve set around the number of active donors in your program.

2. Failing Recurring Giving Plans (Churn)

To ensure you meet your MRR targets, you’ll want to reduce your churn rate as much as possible. Looking at the failing recurring giving plans report allows you to quickly review any recurring donations that had unsuccessful transactions.

Sometimes this can be due to something as simple as a supporter’s change in address or credit card information. Use this report information to reach out to donors to remedy the payment and keep their membership in your recurring giving circle active.

3. Recurring Plans Over One Year

This report shows you recurring donations that have been active for at least a year. You can use this report to evaluate how well you retain recurring donors. You can also use it to identify potential candidates to approach and appeal for a slight increase in their recurring contributions.

4. Upcoming Expiring Recurring Plans

Avoid unplanned churn by pulling this report to see recurring donations with upcoming credit or debit card expirations before they happen. You can reach out to supporters to update the payment information in advance and thank them again for their continued support.

Mature Your Recurring Giving Program and Scale Into the Future With Easy Reports

Building and growing a recurring giving program is an important investment for your nonprofit’s future. By setting goals around your program and pulling reports to track its progress, you can know what to change and what to keep the same to maintain a positive ROI for the effort.

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