hands holding coins and a piece of paper that says make a change, representing the promise of monthly giving for nonprofit fundraising

How to Build and Sustain a Successful Monthly Giving Program

Monthly giving is the fastest growing segment of digital fundraising, offering benefits for both donors and nonprofits. Nonprofits can rely on monthly giving for consistent revenue to the organization. Plus, monthly donors are more likely to donate larger total gifts and to give over a longer time period. Smaller monthly amounts are a good entry point for donors, and donors can feel like they are providing support throughout the entire year.


Help Your Monthly Donors Find You

Most of the monthly donors that your organization will recruit will be folks who will come to you on their own. Make sure your monthly donor program stands out by placing it prominently on your organization's website, such as on both your home page and your dedicated donation page. Perhaps you want to add a dedicated monthly giving page. And be sure to promote your monthly donation program as strongly as your campaigns for one-time gifts.

When working to reach new participants in your monthly giving program, it's also important to know which portion of your audience is most likely to become monthly donors. Recent or frequent donors are often more likely to convert to monthly donors because they have already demonstrated interest in your work.

Another group to target is multichannel donors, or individuals who have donated to your organization in multiple ways (such as online, in the mail, etc.). And don't forget about lapsed donors who have given in the last several years but who haven't given recently. They may be excited to come back and support your cause, and a lower monthly giving level may be an encouragement.

Welcome emails sent to new subscribers tend to get high open and click-through rates and are an excellent way to recruit new monthly donors.

Set Up Seasonal Campaigns to Ramp Up Participation

illustration of people working on and around a large flowerpot, representing how monthly giving can help nonprofits grow their fundraising

Seasonal campaigns are an excellent way to attract a larger number of donors to your monthly giving program in a shorter amount of time. These campaigns increase the visibility of the program. Plus, they are a chance to show how the monthly giving program connects to your organization's mission. By spreading out the initiative over a period of time, seasonal campaigns offer you a unique opportunity to demonstrate how your donors' giving boosts your organization's mission and its goals.

When using a seasonal campaign, it's important to have clear goals and a tracking system to measure success. Establishing a deadline can be a good tactic. You might also add a thermometer to your website to show supporters how much you've raised, while encouraging them to donate.

If you already have a monthly giving program and want to improve it, consider offering a gift to donors who sign up during the campaign. Gifts are an excellent way both to thank donors for their participation and to motivate them to continue giving.

Use Impact and Show Appreciation to Retain Monthly Donors

Monthly donors are of high value to your organization, so it's important to create a retention plan to both acknowledge and encourage them to continue giving. Plan to send your monthly donors regular emails thanking them for their contributions, as well as progress reports that allow them to understand the impact of their donation. You can also invite them to increase their monthly gift amount, because people tend to respond positively to this.

Although it's important to show gratitude and update monthly donors regularly, don't overwhelm participants with a large amount of communication from your organization. (Don't send them every appeal that you send to the rest of your list, because they are already giving monthly.)

A key strategy to retain donors is to ensure that monthly donors' credit card information is always up to date. One way to avoid a decrease in donations as a result of expired credit cards is to create a management system for credit card information. Then, send donors a friendly notice when their card is nearing its expiration date.

Measure the Impact of Your Program

As with any fundraising effort that your nonprofit undertakes, it's important to have a plan in place to measure the success of your monthly giving program. Here are some key metrics to understand your monthly giving program and its contribution to your organization's bottom line.

  • "Sustainers," or number of monthly donors
  • Total revenue raised from monthly gifts
  • Money raised from upgrades
  • Average monthly gift
  • Lifetime value and duration on file
  • Performance by audience segment and channel

Tapping into monthly giving is an excellent way to secure consistent funds for your nonprofit, and, with a proper strategy, it can be incredibly beneficial to your organization and donors.


Additional Resources: Monthly Giving as a Key Tactic for Nonprofits