Monthly Giving. The Sleeping Giant.
Monthly Giving. The Sleeping Giant.
It's only the farmer who faithfully plants seeds in the Spring, who reaps a harvest in the Autumn.
If you look at the giving pyramid, monthly donors are sandwiched between major and occasional donors. These contributors, also called sustainers, monthly givers, committed givers, direct debits or specific brand names like Champions, Circle of Friends and the like, do not generate as much as major donors (not right away), but they will certainly generate more than a one- or two-time-a-year giver.
These monthly givers are the wonderful, consistent givers that can make a difference in a recession. They are typically so committed that they will stay with you through thick and thin. Organizations that have run larger programs can show that some of these donors have stayed with them for more than 10 years and continue on. Just think of the long-term revenue this generates for your organization! And the good news is, with a little bit of work and some investment, these monthly donors will perhaps leave you the ultimate gift – the bequest. The other good news is that starting a monthly giving program is not as time-consuming and personnel resource intensive as starting a major giving program. Most monthly donors can be generated through some of the 'old' proven direct response media methods.
Here's one example (and believe me, there are many more of these) of how much a monthly donor can be worth to you:
Beginning with a $25 gift in 1983, a generous individual made a total of 279 monthly gifts of $25 or $30 each over a 22-year period ending in 2005. Unfortunately, that's when the donor passed away. One year later, the organization received a $25,000 bequest from its former, loyal donor. The total value of these 280 gifts: $31,250!!! (Warwick, Mal. January 2008. Email newsletter.)
Starting a monthly giving program is like anything else in fundraising: If you don't ask, you're not going to get. In most European countries and even in Canada, Australia and Japan, monthly giving is a very common concept. Not so in the US (yet), but it's definitely growing! It's important to plant the seeds of your program. You can only go up!
And don't think that you have to be big to get started. The table below shows how even a small program can make a difference to your bottom line:
This book will give you an overview of the types of monthly donors that exist. You'll find examples of campaigns not only from the US, but also from Europe, India and other regions of the world where monthly giving campaigns achieve great success. That success can be achieved here, once a monthly program is introduced to your donors.
Note that people in other countries may be much more used to committed giving, so results will often be better than in the US, but I have seen very successful campaigns here and it's my expectation that this trend will only continue. The results of these campaigns are based on real examples, but no two organizations are identical. The tools and methods described may not necessarily apply to your organization. They serve as a road map to follow on your path to cultivate monthly giving. But trust me, every organization can build a monthly giving program and be successful with it.
Harvey McKinnon already told us many years ago: "Monthly giving appeals not only to younger donors who find it convenient and easy, but also to older donors, who are more likely to live on a budget. But, regardless of their age, monthly donors will often give for decades, are more loyal than even the most consistent annual donors, and are far more likely to leave bequests."
It's crucial to start finding these wonderful nuggets of monthly d