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5 Steps to Launch a Successful Monthly Giving Program

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Do you really need monthly donors?

Well, do you like more revenue to support your mission?

How about revenue that comes in?

And maybe you’d also like a group of donors with dramatically higher retention than average?

Or a powerful donor-loving way to connect with your best donors?

Monthly giving does all of that.

And, as with most new projects, getting started is the hard part. That’s why this start-up guide can give you a great start to your monthly giving program.

Step 1: Engage everybody and everything to get things going

Monthly giving is not just a fundraising project. It involves a lot of moving parts, and needs full cooperation of a lot of different people (or departments). That’s why you need from the start to involve from the start:

  • Finance
  • Communications and marketing
  • Data entry
  • Web people
  • Leadership and admin people
  • Those who answer the phone (they’re likely to get questions from donors)
  • Outside vendors if you have any involved with the above

Get the advice and help you need from all of them. Make sure they all understand just how important this is going to be for the organization. Don’t let anyone be surprised when you launch the program. Even a perfectly functioning program can create “noise” for people across your organization.

Step 2: Assign a “Driver” for your monthly giving program

While you set up your program, and then when it’s up and running, there should be one person who “owns” it – a single point of contact who oversees everything, is accountable for the success of the program, and motivated to make it work. They should be a good communicator who keeps others in the loop and gets help as needed. They should also be a monthly donor to your program – so they experience what it’s like to be one of your monthly donors.

It will take the work of many people to get your monthly giving program going, but it’s important not to let “committee mind” take over, where everyone’s involved, but nobody is driving.

Step 3: Make sure you have the right tools and processes

These include:

  • A payment processor that can handle monthly giving, both from recurring credit card charges (or EFT charges) as well as PayPal, Amazon Pay, Apple Pay, and other common ways people pay. These are increasingly common and give the donor the control they’ve grown used to. Everything should be possible to do online.
  • A credit card updating service. This may be part of your payment processor. If not, make sure you have it. That means when credit cards expire, you don’t automatically lose the donor and have to call them up to re-enroll.
  • A donor database that can handle monthly giving – as well as recurring giving on other schedules, like quarterly and annually.
  • A process for thanking monthly donors appropriately.

Step 4: Create a name for the program

It’s easier to sell the program if it has a name. It’s also easier for internal people.

The name should communicate two things:

  1. This is a monthly (or recurring) giving program.
  2. Belonging and giving this way gives you a lot of impact on the cause you are about.

But:  Don’t let the search for a perfect name hold you up from getting started! Naming things is not easy, and can invite a lot of extra “help” from many quarters. Better to launch with no name, or with a generic “placeholder” name than to spend months searching for a perfect name that everyone loves.

Step 5: TEST the Process

Actually go through all the channels you are going to get donors coming through. Make sure everything is easy, clear, and works! Don’t make your donors be your guinea pigs.

There’s more to a great monthly giving program than this, but here’s a start. Like your grandmother used to say: “Well begun is half done!”

This post is excerpted from Erica Waasdorp’s popular online course, “The Recurring Revolution: Monthly Giving Course,” available only to member of The Fundraisingology Lab by Moceanic.

To equip yourself for building a monthly giving program, join The Fundraisingology Lab <https://www.moceanic.com/join/>. You’ll get the tools and support to do amazing things for your organization – and find the supporting community that will take you to new places in your fundraising career. Join the waiting list now and you’ll be the first to hear when the doors open again!

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