Monthly Giving is the Smart Answer

By Laurence A. Pagnoni, MPA

Quick Stats

Online giving only grew by 1% in 2018, according to recent data. Also true is that it grew 23% in 2017.

Also true is that while nonprofits sent four percent more fundraising emails last year, email revenue went down eight percent!

Sending more email is clearly NOT the answer; better quality content is.

Better quality includes shorter (90-second) emotional videos. However, that content should relate to your donor audience. (Why do I almost never see any videos of donors giving testimony about why they give?)

Monthly giving is clearly a solution to securing increased giving within your annual fund. One-time giving decreased by two percent.  But monthly giving increased by 17% and represents 16% of all online revenue.

What are your current stats for monthly giving? I ask because whatever they are, strive for doubling them. As people acclimate to making monthly payments for entertainment, food delivery, razors, podcast sponsorship, etc. the likelihood of increased monthly giving is high.

Monthly Donors are Retained Donors

Giving monthly is not an impulse purchase. It is instead a key indicator of a deep-seated commitment to your organization. The very definition of a donor is he or she who gives repeatedly and that requires commitment.

My mom gave to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital all her life and while monthly giving didn’t exist as a concept back then, the hospital did mail to her each month. As she aged, she gave increased amounts. The structure of monthly giving reinforces one’s commitment to your organization and prevents them from lapsing.

This year’s data so far also shows a significant decline in retention among first-time donors, similar to the overall trend.  There was a 14% drop in first-time donor retention in 2018, which is worrying. Spending to retain your donors is a wise investment, and no better-routinized method exists than monthly giving to achieve that retention.

“Just Text It To Me”

Here at LAPA we have enforced monthly giving programs with SMS messages (plain text messages) because the click-through rates on these messages put email to shame. (Newer, more novel communication channels usually have this temporary advantage). The average text list is growing by 14%, but these lists are still small (about 6% of the size of email lists).

We welcome your comments about this post on the LAPA blog.

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