What’s Your Monthly Donor Program’s Story?

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by Erica Waasdorp

Last week, I presented at the Nonprofit Storytelling Conference. I had never attended this before, but it was a lot of fun. Everybody was extremely engaged, and there was time for some exercises and sharing!

I presented a session on the three different types of stories needed for the acquisition, cultivation and upgrading of monthly donors. Each attendee then had some time to choose the type of story they wanted or felt they needed to write next, and there was plenty of time for questions, followed by another special half hour of questions and answers later on in the day.

I always love nonprofits’ questions, because the reality is, that’s how I learn, too. While I work with some wonderful clients, there are so many great nonprofits who are willing to try new things or tweak what they’re doing, so it’s especially great to see ideas and results during this time.

One of the main challenges of monthly giving is that fundraisers are busy, and they are being pulled in so many different directions.

I call it the start-stop-start syndrome. You could also call it “flavor of the month” or “focus of the month” because it keeps changing. There’s the annual appeal. Now it’s nearly time for #GivingTuesday. Then it’s a virtual event or gala. Then it’s crowdfunding. Then it’s social media. Then… you get the idea.

For some reason, that’s still baffling me: Monthly giving usually trails at the end after all of these other things. Why? Maybe it feels difficult? Maybe it feels like it doesn’t generate enough money upfront?

Wrong — one monthly donor brings on average $300 a year. So if you can find 10 new monthly donors, that’s $3,000 a year. If you can find 100 more, that’s $30,000! It sure adds up quick, doesn’t it?

If you tested one email and it generated 10 new monthly donors, test another one, then another one. Do one a month, and see what happens. Monthly giving takes a focused, concerted, continued effort, and it really works when you put in the time and effort.

I get you’re busy now. But do me a favor, come January, write down your goal and spend some focused time mapping out your monthly donor road map for 2021.

I’m giving you this handy dandy check list right here. Then take one hour and create your own “Monthly Donor Monday.” Make it a thing, and just do it!

Whatever term motivates you to focus more on monthly giving, you will not regret it! Your mission, your clients, individuals, animals you serve depend on it.

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