The Chronicle of Philanthropy recently reported that revenue from online donations grew more than 15 percent in 2020
Before the coronavirus outbreak, revenue from one-time online donors had declined by 1% from 2019 to 2020. Presumably, the increase is attributable to the fact that because of the pandemic nonprofits moved the bulk of their fundraising online. Interestingly, the size of the average gift grew to $169.59; more than a 3% increase over 2019.
These finding are based on the Blackbaud Luminate Online Benchmark Report 2020. You’ll want to download this report if you want to evaluate your own organization’s performance.
One element of the Blackbaud report struck me as particularly worth noting for Agitator readers: “While one-time giving spiked and plummeted throughout the year (with the highest increases in May/June and November/December), sustainer, or monthly recurring giving, grew by 14-20% every month.”
The Increasing Importance and Value of Monthly Giving
You’ll find at least 30 posts on monthly giving/sustainer giving in the Agitator’s Archives. Most recently we’ve published reviews of Erica Waasdorp’s (here) and Harvey McKinnon’s ( here ) new—and excellent—”how to” books on monthly giving.
I don’t know an experienced fundraiser who doesn’t assign prime importance on monthly giving. And few are as experienced as Canadian fundraiser David Love whose inspiring, new book– Green Green — we reviewed on Earth Day.
Well, David has now weighed in with his recommendation on making the most of a monthly giving program. A review of Monthly Giving Made Easy, a book and e-book by Erica Waasdorp.
Tips for a Great Monthly Giving Program
Advice and a review by David Love
Donors are heroes. Even during an unprecedented shake-up of our world, donors continue to support the charities they care about which treat them well. Their commitment is inspiring and their loyalty to the charities which reflect their deeply held values is astonishing.
Is there a donor-centered way to take advantage of this loyalty? The answer is “YES!”. Give these precious people an opportunity to support your work monthly. Create a creative, strategic, inspiring, and unique monthly giving program.
Over the years, there have been eloquent champions of monthly giving. I want to mention two of them.
The first is my friend and colleague Harvey McKinnon. Harvey has written extensively – and brilliantly – about monthly giving for decades. His first book, Hidden Gold, and his most recent, How to Create Lifelong Donors Through Monthly Giving are simply must-reads if you want to be serious about monthly giving.
The second is the Agent’s friend and colleague Erica Waasdorp – “Erica from America.” She published Monthly Giving. Monthly Giving: The Sleeping Giant in 2012 and she has just written another wonderful book and e-book called “Monthly Giving Made Easy.” In her acknowledgments, Erica gives a shout-out to Harvey.
Erica’s book is a comprehensive, easy-to-read guide to creating and maintaining a vibrant monthly giving program. She provides a boatload of free resources which brilliantly illustrate the points she makes in her little book. 124 pages full of gems for your new or developing or mature monthly giving program.
After a passionate introduction, Erica looks at all aspects of a monthly giving program. She has short, action and example packed chapters on the why of monthly giving, the basics, acquisition, recognition and cultivation, retention, upgrades, and celebrations.
There are three ideas which stood out for me. The first is her suggestion that if you run a monthly giving program, you should join one or two of the very best in your field. As Newton famously said, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” We can learn a lot by looking at what the pros do!
Second, Erica suggests that you find a way to ask your monthly donors why they support you in this way. This is another gem. Your donors will tell you things that will make your program better. They will also appreciate being asked.
This leads to the third idea. Find a way to surprise and delight these marvelous people. Be creative. Be bold. Be unique. It will make you stand out from the rest.
I highly recommend you get and read this wonderful little book (or e-book) if monthly giving is in your toolbox.
Erica’s ideas will make your monthly giving program soar. Even more important, her refreshing ideas will ensure your program is treating these special people properly. And they deserve no less.
David Love is a Canadian fundraiser who has been raising money forever. His recent book is Green Green: Reflections on 51 Years of Raising Money for Nature