Monthly Giving

Monthly Giving: Your Secret to Long-Term Success in Fundraising


I have some good news for you: Almost every donor on your donor database has the capacity to be a mid-value donor — or higher. It doesn’t necessarily require a large bank balance to give a much above average amount.

Your wonderful donors can get there by giving monthly.

And monthly giving is an attractive option for a lot of donors.

Monthly giving is a way for these caring people to give a set donation amount, each month (or any other set time), usually debited from their bank account or credit card.

That regular giving adds up. The annual value of a monthly donor is three or more times higher than that of a ‘general’ donor. And they retain at a much higher rate. ‘General’ donors who become monthly givers as well are likely to stay there too. Their annual retention is often higher than 90%.

Their impact on your revenue can be transformational — it’s high-return, low-cost, steady, year-round income you can count on for years to come. They are also likely to upgrade their giving over time and are among the best prospects for leaving you in their Wills.

We just need to make sure to show donors that monthly giving is a great option, and to encourage as many of them as you can on that upward path.

Not all donors are willing to become monthly donors. Most organizations are able to ‘convert’ between 3% and 10% of their donors to monthly giving. Some quite a lot more. 

I put ‘convert’ in quotes, because it is not likely they will stop giving one off-gifts as well!

Here’s how you create and maintain the monthly donor path:

  • Have a monthly giving program that makes it easy to sign up and rewarding to stay with it.
  • Give it a focus and maybe a name that emphasizes their impact as donors. (But don’t get bogged down on the name. It works without, or can be something simple like “[Thing donors want to do] Partners.”)
  • Make sure all of your donors are aware of your monthly giving option. Use “drip marketing” in your newsletter and other places you communicate with them to keep the idea of monthly giving in front of them.
  • Recruit them by mail and email at least once a year.
  • But the best method: talk to your lovely donors! Phone them very soon after a gift (especially new donors), asking them to join your monthly giving program. The telephone is the most effective tool for encouraging monthly giving!

Here’s something that might surprise you about monthly donors: Most of them choose monthly giving not because it’s good for your budgeting and cash-flow — though it is very good for those things! They give because it’s convenient and easy for them and they can see the impact. 

So, when you’re recruiting monthly donors, emphasize the convenience and ease of it. And make sure you do everything possible to make your monthly giving program easy to join and belong to. 

Monthly giving is one of the three key areas that can have massive and lasting impact on your fundraising revenue. Make sure you keep it in your planning!

(The others are mid-major donations and bequests / planned giving.)

You can find out absolutely everything about building the Monthly Donor upward path by taking Erica Waasdorp’s course, Monthly Giving: The Recurring Revolution. It’s one of the courses available for all members of The Fundraisingology Lab. Find out more here.

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  • Sean Triner

    Sean Triner is a Co-Founder of Moceanic and Pareto Group. With over three decades of experience in fundraising and a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in mathematics, Sean has a wealth of fundraising expertise to share with Moceanic members and blog readers. He is also a coach and available for bookings on the Coaching+ program for fundraisers to help answer your questions and work hands-on directly with you.

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