I’m naming this post “Small Batch Monthly Donors” because at this nonprofit, there are a precious self-selecting few who have been faithfully giving on a monthly basis. They are awesome and as a group give more than $9,000 annually.
There is plenty of room for improvement for this mighty group of donors. In the past there had never been any specific appeal to become a monthly supporter, simply a box to check on the donor envelope. Donors received a welcome letter, a thank you and tax receipt in December, and the typical communications sent to donors and members of the nonprofit (e.g., invitations, newsletter, etc.).
This year, I initiated Board Thank You calls for long-time, monthly and major donors. The monthly donors were thanked in late January and February.
[Earlier this year I was keen to launch a spring monthly donor appeal; I received terrific advice during #FundChat – Managing Your Monthly Giving Program and started a thread on the discussion group on LinkedIn. Then I got in touch with Agents of Good (John Lepp and Jen Love) for their counsel because they understand it is ALL about the donor. Their advice: Sit tight. Improve your communications. Vastly improve your fall appeal. Create more donor love to better prepare your donors.]
My first impulse is always to say Thank You. There are about 35 monthly donors – about the same number as our major donors. Now was the time to find out why each had given, for how long and make a plan for each.
Sadly, there were almost no notes, just gift history. Nothing documenting how they decided to give, or the vehicle, whether a phone call, letter or response device. Fundraisers, documenting this information helps immeasurably as you build and strengthen the donor relationship and ensures the information stays with the institution, not the fundraiser.
What I found is there are:
- 11 monthly donors who have been giving since 2006, 2007, 2008 or 2009 (since joining 2 upgraded and 1 downgraded).
- 13 monthly donors who have been giving since 2009 and 2010 (since joining 2 upgraded).
- 11 started in 2011, 2012 and 2013 (since joining 1 upgraded, 1 downgraded, 1 passed away).
- In addition, 3 were giving $100 or more monthly, and 5 were giving $50 monthly.
Wow! What commitment. I grabbed a stack of cards and hand wrote notes, tailored to each donor with the theme of thanks how their support had helped those we serve across the province. I made an upgrade plan where I believe is appropriate. We will segment them from the fall appeal and I will call each donor personally (hopefully I can encourage a board member or two to join me!)
How are you ensuring an extraordinary experience for your monthly donors? I welcome advice and encouragement!