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Should My Monthly Giving Program Have a Name?

Giving your monthly giving program a name is a smart move.

Unless it isn’t smart.

If trying to come up with a name delays starting your Monthly Giving program, don’t name it! Also don’t name it if it becomes a replacement for an actual Monthly Giving proposition.

A name is not compulsory – because the name is not the program. Nor does a name mean the difference between success and failure. And my friends who recruit new Monthly Givers over the phone or in the street tell me that as a sales tool, a name is often a distraction, not an aide. Particularly when it lacks relevance and meaning.

Naming your Monthly Giving program should be a strategic decision, not a tactical fancy or the starting point for the development of your program.

Your Monthly Giving messaging should be much more than just a name … built from your Monthly Giving proposition, it may include a tagline, a mission, possibly values directly related to your program, maybe a logo, and key messaging. And these are used consistently.

Sometimes a name is obvious, a no-brainer. Sometimes I see really bland, without meaning, names used … you’d be better with no name or bringing in a name later than forcing something weak, unrelated, or that has the potential to quickly date your program.

Strong Monthly Giving propositions don’t reflect on your entire mission. They provide a unique solution to an identified need. It’s your opportunity to focus. 

Like Australia for UNHCR, whose Monthly Giving program gives the donor the opportunity to ensure those in the field have the resources to respond to Emergencies when they happen. UNHCR’s primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. They do this in a variety of ways, one of which is delivering emergency support during humanitarian crises. And this is what I support by being an Emergency Response Team Member – the proposition of the program is focused on the emergency needs of refugees not all the needs. This name is effective. It helps create a sense of community and a simple shortcut … but it also allows UNHCR to differentiate Monthly Giving support from other ways a donor might give. 

Here are some more benefits of naming your monthly giving program:

  • It can help you create a sense of community, a way for donors to see themselves as part of something greater than just themselves. I have been a Médecins Sans Frontieres Field Partner for many years. I recognise myself as a Field Partner and part of a group of like-minded people who are also Field Partners.
  • It can become a brand in its own right, like Amnesty International’s Human Rights Defenders – which can help with acquisition, upgrade approaches, reactivation approaches … but only if it is recognised, remembered and related to your Monthly Giving proposition.
  • Donors like named programs, because they like to be part of something they can talk about easily.
  • It can help you personalise your communications with meaning. For example: “Fiona, I would like to thank you for being a Field Partner for the last five years, your support along with that of other Field Partners has …” which is much more compelling than “Fiona thank you for being a monthly donor …”  

If you decide to name your program, here are a few things to consider:

  • You have to use it for it to have value and meaning. In several Monthly Giving program audits I’ve run I discovered the Monthly Giving program name by accident, hidden in some communications, not present in others. Which begs the question: Why have a name?
  • Consider if it has longevity … changing it is hard and confusing for donors. Can you sustain its use over time?
  • Make sure it has a meaning related to what donors are doing by giving monthly. Circle of Friends could be any organisation. The Spring, Charity: Water’s monthly giving program is more connected.
  • Will your donors identify with it? Is it language they identify with? Would they be proud to call themselves part of it?
  • Does it provide differentiation from the other ways the donor can support you? If not, why?

Finally, your monthly giving name is probably more important as a donor retention tactic than as an acquisition tool. Telling donors they are part of the name and using it to create community when you connect with donors may be where you get the best value from a name, not at the point of acquisition.

Check out these other useful posts about monthly giving:

Top 3 Reasons You Need A Monthly Giving Program Right Now
Monthly Giving Hemispheric Showdown! US vs Australia and New Zealand
VIDEO: Why Your Donors Want to Give Every Month

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