Today’s blog post is contributed by Erica Waasdorp, President of A Direct Solution and Author of Monthly Giving. The Sleeping Giant.

Monthly Giving is probably the one fundraising program surrounded by the highest number of myths. All of these myths are used as reasons NOT to start…

Well, if the many recent discussions about retention are any indication, you have every reason to RUN, not walk to get started with monthly giving. Simply because the IMPACT ON RETENTION is HUGE!

Did you know that those nonprofits that started years ago are now seeing between 90 and 98% of their monthly donors still with them, now 5 years later. What’s not to like about that retention rate improvement?

Of course, you’ll never be able to convert every single annual fund donor to a recurring donor. That’s just not realistic, but as a fervent monthly donor advocate, who has seen the positive impact of monthly donors on an organization’s bottom line and the long term sustainability, it behooves every good fundraiser to debunk some of these monthly giving myths and get started with their own monthly giving program, before it’s too late!

Myth: Monthly Donors are able to write big checks.pyramid

Au contraire, my fundraising friend! Typically, those donors who are interested in supporting a monthly giving program are NOT able to write the big checks. In fact, most monthly donors are able to give small amounts a month, (typically ranging between $10 and $35, depending upon the type of organization they’re supporting), thus generating more than some of the mid level donors you may have in your donor base.

Those donors, who are able to write $100 and $250 checks, should be upgraded to write $250 and $500 and even higher checks. These big check writers should be considered midlevel donors and require a different approach. Now, having said that, yes, you may see some donors who are willing to give you $100 or perhaps even $250 a month, but those are few and far between.

I have seen several organizations who complained and told me: “We tried monthly giving and it did not work”. When I asked them who they targeted, they told me they only focused their monthly giving ask on their bigger donors, those who made a one-time gift of $50+. And they totally forgot asking their smaller donors. Once they started testing into the $5-$49.99, they were amazed at the number of donors joining their monthly giving program. So, start LOW and go up from there.

Myth: You can test a program once and then stop.

Forget about it! You do need to COMMIT to the program. It takes time to grow it, but it will! In fact, the more committed you are to starting and growing your monthly giving program, the more likely you are to be successful! If you’re able to put more resources into it, try more approaches, test it in different media, the more likely you’ll be able to grow it faster.

I have seen organizations who truly committed to it to the point where monthly giving was their number one way of giving. It was literally everywhere! On their home page, online donation page, in their direct mail appeals, in their phone calls. Well, these organizations reap the benefits as they now have close to 60% of their members on a monthly giving program.

Just think what it would mean for your organization to have some 1,000 donors giving $10 a month. That’s 1,000 donors giving you $120 a year at virtually no cost to maintain them. That’s $120,000 a year of funding you can count on. What could your organization do with that? How could your organization make a difference to the animals or people you serve?

For more information, contact: Erica Waasdorp, President, A Direct Solution, Author of Monthly Giving. The Sleeping Giant, contact her at or at (508) 776-1224.

About Erica Waasdorp

EricaErica Waasdorp is one of the leading experts on Monthly aka Sustainer aka Recurring Giving. She is author of the book: Monthly Giving. The Sleeping Giant, and as President of A Direct Solution serves non-profit organizations with their fundraising and direct marketing needs with a focus on Monthly Giving, Annual Fund and Grant writing.

Erica Waasdorp has helped the nonprofits she works with raise millions of dollars through monthly giving programs. She has over 30 years of experience in nonprofits and direct response. She lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

She writes regular guest blogs and presents webinars on monthly giving and she is happy to answer any questions you may have about this great way of improving the retention rates for your donors. You can reach her via email or by phone at (508) 776-1224

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