Blog post by Erica Waasdorp
First, let me start by asking: I hope you’re doing okay? I hope your event cancellations; the staying at home; the working from home; with or without kids who now must be homeschooled; and perhaps worries about parents or other family members aren’t driving you totally crazy.
Take good care of yourself and give yourself a break.
Then, let’s spend a bit of time looking at some of the ways you can make up for the lost revenue from those events and at the same time help you get ready for any future disasters or crisis that may come your way so you’ll feel much better getting on that next rollercoaster.
This is where monthly donors are so tremendously powerful!
Organizations that have monthly donors are in a much better place right now.
Here is why:
- Monthly donors retain at higher levels. Typically, monthly donors retain at some 85 to 90% compared to 45% for other donors on average.
- Monthly donors give more money than one-time donors, typically some 2 to 4 times more.
- Monthly donors can grow substantially and be worth a lot of money. Just look at this chart.
Source: Top 7 ways to find new monthly donors right NOW, webinar
4. Monthly donors provide unrestricted sustainable revenue with funds that keep coming in no matter what happens. No matter which pandemic or other disaster comes your way, monthly donors provide a base of money that keeps coming in and you can plan accordingly for your organization.
Well, you might say: “That’s all great and well, but now’s not the time to ask for money and certainly not for monthly gifts!”.
That’s NOT TRUE, so please think again.
Let me remind you of four important things when it comes to Monthly Giving:
- Monthly giving is very donor centric. No gift too small.
- Donors want to help in a way that works best for them. For some, this can be one time donations. For other donors, this can mean monthly gifts.
- Many donors are older, on fixed incomes so less dependent on jobs. But small gifts may work better for them now than before, because they may wish to spread their support to even more organizations than before.
- You already have the tools and processes in place. You must just start asking for monthly gifts more often.
Based upon this, YES, can you really acquire new monthly donors during a crisis! And you must also take better care of your existing monthly donors during a crisis!
I’m one of those (many) consultants who recommends that you MUST absolutely ask for money right now. Your donors need to know that you need them now more than ever. If you don’t ask, you’re certainly not going to receive any money.
So, go ahead and send appeals for money, but do it in an empathetic way and you’ll do really, well! You’ll certainly raise more money than if you didn’t do so.
Of course, reaching out to your donors with calls, personal notes are tremendous, especially NOW. It will absolutely help you in your fundraising now and in the future.
There are so many case studies already about organizations that raised a lot of money in the first few weeks of this coronavirus crisis. And it applied to those who are providing direct service right now (like food banks, meal services, hospitals) and other organizations, even if they are closed temporarily.
Every organization that has reached out to their donors has raised money.
Let me give you a different way of looking at this that may give you even more motivation.
These are unprecedented times so while it may be very unnerving, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by trying some new things. Perhaps you have some extra time now to plan and communicate with donors in different ways. So, use this opportunity. Don’t be afraid to ask for monthly gifts now.
You’re a great fundraiser. You love your donors. You’ve got this!
Please also note, good enough is better than perfect but not happening! You simply don’t have the time to launch a full-blown web revision program or come up with lots of brand-new things. Instead look back into your archives to see what you may be able to repurpose. What do you have for hopeful messaging and images? What do you have for sad messaging and images?
Then let’s get right to it.
Here are the top 7 ways you can raise funds right now by asking for monthly gifts
1.Take over the home page of your website and clearly ask to give monthly.
If possible, create your special landing monthly giving page so you can track results. But if you don’t have it, or it’s a complicated process, don’t worry too much. Now
Make it clear that small gifts are possible, $5 or $10 minimum.
2. Have a downloadable form online. If you don’t have one, you can download one right here for free and customize it for your organization.
3. Ask specifically for monthly gifts in your emergency email and make it the first option, followed by the emergency gift request. Or better yet, consider using this time to ask for monthly gifts all the time. Perhaps try it for a few emails and see what happens. Here’s part of that email.
4. Add a monthly giving button to every email you send in addition to your donate now button.
5. Add the reference to monthly giving in your email signature.
6. Add a tick box on your urgent gram reply form just below the ask for an emergency gift. Add a message about monthly giving in your p.s.
7. When you call your donors to say thank you and ask them if they’re doing okay, see if they can give you an opening with the words like: “I wish I could do more right now”. You can then share some information about monthly gifts and see if the donor can do that.
Keep the monthly donors you have. Up the engagement!
The next step is to make sure you keep the monthly donors you have.
Right now, I’m hearing different stories from different organizations. Some are seeing some cancellations. I call those hard cancels. Donors take the initiative.
Put a save script in place and offer monthly donors who call to cancel the option to lower their amount or pause for a few months. Some may take you up on it.
Other organizations are getting more calls for upgrades. Others are seeing great results in extra gifts from their current monthly donors. And many are seeing new monthly donors generated from some of the 7 ways described earlier.
Now’s a really good time to get in touch with your monthly donors and say thank you.
Because of you and your continued support, we’re able to do x. Use email. Send something up lifting. Send a beautiful picture. Send a recipe. Send a cat or dog video. Send a video from someone in the field, from your executive director.
It doesn’t have to be perfect! It may be something you’ve sent at year end. Just repurpose something you may have or hop on zoom, google hangout, skype, GoToMeeting, uberconference or whatever your preferred virtual connection medium is and have an impromptu conversation, tape it and send it out.
Then use the phone. Check in with your (monthly) donors. Check in with them. They’re home. They’re looking to connect.
Send personal notes. Just wanted to let you know I’m thinking of you. I hope you’re doing okay. Your support makes a difference. Thank you.
Bring back your lapsed monthly donors
Now’s also a really good time to get in touch with those monthly donors who may have lapsed a while back. You may be able to bring them back.
Send them an email with a monthly donor ask and absolutely call them to see if you can have a conversation. Remember, right now, donors are home!
Just remember that donors whose card expired or declined for some reason didn’t mean to stop giving. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by keeping them.
I always recommend using what I call the monthly donor at risk annualizer™. It’s a very simple tool, but very powerful when it comes to knowing the value of how much money is at risk if these monthly donors stop. If you see that just 10 monthly donors are worth almost $3,000, you’ll know you’ll want to spend a bit of extra time in keeping them, right?
Just one call a day, one email a day, one letter a day can go a long way! If you do those, you’ll have a bigger chance of keeping your monthly donors.
Just think of this as some extra service. Remember, your donors want to help!
Finally, keep your monthly donors engaged during the year.
Send them videos and good news. Not just during this time of crisis.
Then do include your monthly donors in some extra email appeals and even extra direct mail appeals. Include a short thank you for giving monthly and then go into the story, reason for sending this email. They’ll be your best responders. You’re confirming you need their continued and occasional extra support.
In this time of crisis, it’s okay to try some new things. It’s even better to use some things that have been tested elsewhere but you simply didn’t have the time to implement. Now you do!
I’ve personally seen how monthly donors have sustained organizations during and after disasters. They all came out even more motivated to grow their monthly donors to even higher levels.
I can guarantee you’re going to come out better in the long run if you look to generate new monthly donors right NOW, so you’ll be better prepared for when the next disaster happens.
Monthly donors can truly be your friends for life! And I’m sure you could use a few more friends just about NOW!
If you’d like to watch the webinar: Top 7 ways to find new monthly donors right NOW, click this link.
Click Here To View All Upcoming Webinars From Erica Waasdorp And Learn All The Ins And Outs Of Monthly Giving For Your Nonprofit!
About The Author
Building partnerships and trying to find the best solution for donors and her clients are what Erica Waasdorp does best.
Her multi-lingual skills and multi-cultural experience bring added value to those clients interested in raising money internationally. And her experience in monthly giving has given her an edge for those clients who are ready to embark on this way of giving.