Five Ways to Increase Recurring Donations

Five Ways to Increase Recurring Donations

July 7, 2016 Lynette Garet Fundraising 0 Comment

Increase Recurring Donations With These Easy Methods


Even if a CEO is willing to launch a new product annually (think Apple), the real moneymakers are not in the widgets themselves but in the opportunities to bring in recurring revenue (think iTunes Store). Those recurring monthly revenues generate the forecastable cash flow that increases revenues and makes growth possible.


Careful cash flow management is always smart. However, the challenge to forecast cash accurately continually plagues nonprofits that depend on charitable giving for program and administrative funding. A successful fundraising campaign can leave management feeling flush for the short term, but recurring revenue will support ongoing programs well into the future. The trick is: How to secure recurring donations and to increase them?


Emphasize monthly giving


During National Public Radio’s periodic pledge drives, regular NPR listeners hear about its Evergreen program with every ask. Presenters may talk about the gifts available at each donor giving level, but the Evergreen program seems to crop up with every other breath, “Consider a gift of just five dollars a month through our Evergreen program, that’s sixty dollars a year.” Five hundred $5 donations make a tidy sum each month.


Explain how it helps


It’s important to explain to donors how monthly donations help nonprofits project and manage cash flow to support programs. Monthly giving should have a dedicated page on a nonprofit’s website. If potential donors know, for example, that $10 a month will buy fresh drinking water for a family of five or that $5 a month puts rice or corn on the table for a family of four. Donors are more likely to give if they understand that their donations are not paying salaries or office supplies.


Communicate the monthly option


Every campaign, every Facebook status update or Tweet, every newsletter, email, direct mail, even the online donor registration form—every communication with donors—should ask for a monthly donation The request for a recurring donation should come either in addition to or in lieu of a one-time donation. As with the “Donate” button on every page of a website, a request for monthly giving must be a clear option, with small, suggested amounts, for donors. Remember, those $5 donations add up.


Ask to keep the change


Rite Aid’s KidCents Foundation makes it extremely easy to donate at checkout, by rounding up to the next even dollar amount. Donors can choose either a one-time donation or an ongoing option until ready to opt out. Safeway regularly raises money for muscular dystrophy, breast cancer and prostate cancer by asking shoppers to round up at checkout. These corporations do billions of dollars in sales each year and every day, spare change flows into charitable coffers.


Make it easy to quit


Donors sometimes hesitate to choose a monthly giving plan. Perhaps donors like to rotate their charitable giving through several nonprofits or, perhaps, they worry it will be too hard to cancel their monthly donations. Circumstances change and the thought of having to run a gauntlet to cancel a monthly donation can be daunting enough to stop a donor from contributing. Counterintuitive as it may seem, if donors know they are not committed to a particular nonprofit for eternity, they tend to be more likely to give.


Not only does a recurring monthly donation stabilize a nonprofit’s revenue; it can also result in a slightly increased total donation per donor. Either way, unless nonprofits ask for a monthly donation, clearly and often, they are unlikely to secure those recurring donations.

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