4 Storytelling Tips to Boost Recurring Donations

4 min
girl smiling looking at laptop
Korrin Bishop

The economic and social climate of 2020 has highlighted how important recurring giving is to your brand. By fostering relationships with recurring donors, your nonprofit can maintain its mission-driven impact even when times are hard and budgets are tight.

Over the course of their involvement with your nonprofit, recurring monthly donors provide five times greater value than one-time donors, giving 42% more overall. Recurring donors are also 75% more likely than one-time donors to make an additional one-time gift on top of their monthly contribution. Recurring giving serves as a critical revenue stream especially as nonprofits scale. Nonprofits that raise over $50 million in total revenue secure 26% of their online revenue through Classy from recurring donations.

Your organization needs to prioritize strong visual and written storytelling to drive recurring donations. Through these emotional anchors, you can steward potential donors through your communications, campaign page, and, ultimately, the checkout process where they select the option to become a recurring donor.

Below, we share four examples of nonprofits effectively structuring their stories to drive monthly recurring giving. You can use their experiences to craft your own compelling narrative.

Download Now: The Quick-Start Guide to Recurring Giving

1. Make Your Recurring Donors Feel Like Part of the Family

Many Hopes is a nonprofit that “rescues children from poverty and abuse and raises them with an imagination for justice and the tools to act on it.” Many Hopes created its recurring giving program by expanding from its mission to center around the idea of family.

The Many Hopes recurring giving campaign starts with a banner image reading, “Join the family. Give the gift of a loving home.” It then describes “the family,” which is the organization’s term for its recurring donors. The description shares how, through their monthly subscriptions, family members are part of a “community of givers” committed to helping a girl in need over the course of a full year. It explains that 100% of monthly donations go toward direct services supporting the program’s children.

To join as a recurring donor, supporters click a red donation button that reads, “Click Here to Join the Family,” further emphasizing the value the organization places on monthly giving.

Many Hopes creates a story around its recurring giving campaign on Classy that gives supporters a positive identity to associate with their involvement. When marketing your recurring campaign, consider how you can make supporters feel like they’re part of a special, meaningful community that’s contributing to your important work. Weave that in throughout your copy and even your calls to action.

2. Use Donation Levels to Describe Long-Term Impact

Milagro House is a nonprofit working to eradicate unequal treatment and systemic bias that keep people in poverty. Similar to how its mission is focused on systems-level change, its recurring giving campaign crafts a narrative on how monthly giving is about making a difference rather than simply making a donation.

The campaign uses the impact blocks on their Classy campaign to showcase how various monthly amounts make an impact over the course of a year. For example, its monthly gift option of $30 reads: “A monthly gift of $30 increases your impact over one year to $360. Your generosity supports life-skills programming focusing on basic financial knowledge, effective parenting, nutrition, healthy development in children, counseling and self-care.”

The campaign page continues with the theme of long-term sustainability by describing how monthly donations give the nonprofit a “way to responsibly budget and plan our programs around more predictable revenue; a plus as we navigate challenging times during an unpredictable pandemic.”

Help your supporters see the larger impact of their recurring donation by:

  • Totaling how much their gift will amount to by the year’s end
  • Emphasizing your long-term goals
  • Highlighting the importance of financial stability during uncertain times

Download Now: 8 Email Templates to Upgrade Recurring Donors

3. Share the Perks of Being a Monthly Donor

Operation Broken Silence is a nonprofit focused on empowering Sudanese people through innovative programs. Its recurring giving campaign page incorporates video, simple infographics, and written narrative to build the story of the nonprofit and express its current needs. 

Following its ask, the nonprofit shares the perks of becoming a monthly donor, calling its group of monthly donors “The Renewal.” Members of The Renewal receive a membership pin and exclusive, early looks at the nonprofit’s new stories and campaigns. Gifts of $35 or more per month also receive free tickets to the nonprofit’s two annual events, the Soirée For Sudan and Eden’s Run 5K.

Operation Broken Silence recurring giving campaign

Think of ways your nonprofit can add incentives for becoming a monthly donor, such as early access to campaigns or initiatives, exclusive stories of your work on the ground or with beneficiaries, or even swag. Incentives that further connect donors to your nonprofit, such as tickets to your annual event, are particularly helpful for continued stewardship.

4. Incorporate a Video Highlighting the Value of Monthly Giving

BlinkNow is a nonprofit focused on empowering youth in Nepal. The nonprofit brands its monthly recurring giving program as “Roots,” where recurring donors support the growth of the children the nonprofit serves, or, as BlinkNow describes, “you nurture our little buds!”

BlinkNow’s main storytelling for its recurring giving campaign comes in the form of a short video. The video message uses mission-driven, emotional imagery to build its case for support. It weaves in the “roots” theme by explaining, “Our greatest need is to simply keep all of our programs running.” The speaker continues by sharing how monthly giving provides them with stability and recurring donors truly become the “roots” of the organization, helping the most vulnerable kids in the area they serve.

Quick storytelling videos are powerful and gaining popularity. Capture the attention of prospective monthly donors by incorporating a short video that shares the essence of your brand, power of your mission, and gratitude for recurring gifts.

Cultivate Recurring Donor Relationships Through Storytelling 

Monthly giving provides a reliable revenue stream for nonprofits during uncertain times. Recurring gifts are also a sign of donor loyalty and reflect that your audience has trust in your brand. Encourage growth in your monthly gifts through creative campaigns with rich storytelling and positive associations for donors.


Learn more about recurring giving strategies that keep the most successful nonprofits resilient against economic shifts at the Collaborative: Virtual Sessions.

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