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[ASK AN EXPERT] What Are The Best Ways To Promote And Increase Monthly Giving?

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Our Ask An Expert series features real questions answered by Claire Axelrad, J.D., CFRE, our very own Fundraising Coach, also known as Charity Clairity. Today’s question comes from a nonprofit employee who wants some fresh ideas to increase monthly giving:

Dear Charity Clairity,

We have a monthly giving program, but not many people join. I’ve read monthly givers are easier to retain and have higher lifetime donor value than one-time givers, so I’d like to promote it more. But I need some fresh ideas beyond just sending an email. Can you help?

— Clueless in Seattle

Dear Clueless,

Let me offer two clues: (1) a better donation page, and (2) multi-channel promotion.

Let’s dig in.

First, optimize your donation landing page for monthly giving. 

This means making monthly the most attractive and user-friendly option.

1. Make monthly giving your default. There is plenty of research showing if you require people to opt out of something (e.g., making a recurring gift) they are less likely to do so than if you make them opt in. One famous study looked at how to increase organ donations. It found in countries using opt out, 90% of people agreed to be organ donors. In countries using opt in, only 15% did so. It wasn’t whether folks wanted to donate or not that guided their action so much as how much effort it took to do so. In the example below, you can see monthly is pre-selected and color-highlighted.

increase monthly giving

2. Use colors or icons that guide folks to choose monthly giving. In addition to color, you might place a heart, holiday icon or gift sticker to draw the donor’s eye to the option you most want them to select.

increase monthly giving

3. Offer selected giving amounts that make sense for monthly giving. When monthly is your default, smaller amounts make sense. For example, consider an ask string of $5, $10, $25, $35, $50 and $100. Leave off the bottom or top option, depending on your organization’s average gift. Ideally, if the donor selects the “one time” option the amounts would change.

4. Consider illuminating your suggested giving amounts with a description of what that gift accomplishes. 

You don’t have to come up with a different purpose for different amounts. Use the same purpose, and multiply the amount or time period. Or simply suggest what every $1, $5 or $10 makes possible. 

Second, promote monthly giving through multiple channels. 

It’s often not easy for donors to find your monthly giving option, as it can get buried in sub-menus. Plus, folks aren’t likely to search for this; it’s on you to drive them to this donation option! The best way to do this is to add multiple donation links to your marketing strategy that take would-be donors exactly where you want them to go.

  1. Consider spotlighting monthly giving on your homepage. Charity: water does this beautifully. Most of their fundraising is centered around their monthly giving community, “The Spring.” Occasionally they’ll change up the home page for specific, time-limited campaigns. You can be similarly nimble.increase monthly giving
  2. Include a prominent “Donate” button on virtually every page of your website. This way, if someone comes to you from another link, they’ll still see the donate option. 
  3. Include monthly giving on your “Ways to Give” menu. Make it prominent.
  4. Include a donate link in e-news, blog articles and social media posts. This is especially useful in stories highlighting the impact of donor dollars.
  5. Consider a special article or post from a monthly donor’s perspective – “Why I Care, Why I Give” – with a direct link to your monthly giving landing page.
  6. Add a link leading to your monthly donation landing page on your social media profiles.
  7. Add a link to your staff email signatures. Don’t include this just for fundraising staff, but for all employees.
  8. Welcome new one-time donors with an email series including a link to your monthly giving program.  This is your opportunity to introduce them to your “club,” and encourage them to consider becoming a sustaining member of your community. 
  9. Drive event attendees to your monthly giving page. During and after the event, make giving easy by including signage posting your donation page URL or a QR code so folks can easily make or text a monthly gift.
  10. Drive volunteers to your monthly giving page. During hands-on group volunteer activities, post signage with URLs and/or QR codes to simplify making an instant monthly gift using mobile technology.
  11. Plan at least one upgrade campaign annually using monthly giving as a donor-friendly strategy. You may want to select your most likely prospects, such as smaller and recent donors, multi-channel donors, and donors who’ve given multiple times in the course of the year.

Pick a few ideas to start, then continue to build. You should have more monthly donors in no time!

Charity Clairity

What tactics have worked to increase monthly giving at your nonprofit? We’d love to hear from you!

Please use a pseudonym, like “Clueless” did, if you prefer to be anonymous.

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