Sustainer Campaigns

What We Learned From Five Monthly Giving Campaigns in 2020

Over the last few months galas, charitable run/walks, and other donation-driving events have all been canceled—forcing organizations to adapt and shift their focus online. We’ve seen peer-to-peer fundraising decrease as much as 50% and nonprofits could lose a total of  $25B decrease during 2020.

Now more than ever, organizations need to lean into monthly giving. Monthly donors are among your most committed supporters, with an LTV of 6x more than a donor who gives with one-time gifts. Monthly giving is the best opportunity to affect donor retention, increase LTV, and generate reliable revenue during these challenging times.

Here are five takeaways we saw from five sustainer appeals in the first half of 2020!

Number 5: You need to know who you are asking for a monthly gift.

When rolling out a sustainer appeal at the start of the calendar year, on the heels of the End of Year period (which we recommend you do), you’ll want to know first and foremost who you are asking for a monthly gift and segment your audiences accordingly.

Did they renew their support with a one-time gift in December? Or was it their first gift to your organization altogether? What was the gift amount? Maybe they haven’t given to you since 2018 or worse yet, they’ve never given. 

OR, maybe they give through their payroll deduction and are a staff member and that detail is missing from their constituent record and they’re really confused/annoyed that they’re being asked for a monthly gift when they already give on the first and the fifteenth!

All that’s to say, how you position (and don’t position) a case for monthly support — and to whom — matters.

Number 4: Premiums are pretty, pretty, pretty cool.

The only thing we like better than Stuff We All Get (SWAG) is Stuff We Only Get If We Become a Monthly Donor (SWOGIWBAMD…copyright pending).

We leveraged beanies, journals, magazine subscriptions — anything cool, easy to fulfill, not-too-expensive-but-still-pretty-nice works for a premium. They aren’t required, but certainly a nice-to-have.

Number 3: Matches make us merry.

Without a premium, a matching gift incentive is a nice way to get a would-be monthly donor into the fold. Plus, what’s fun about matching gifts for monthly giving is that they can be leveraged in a cost-effective way. Instead of matching the monthly gift dollar-for-dollar over the course of the year, try offering a $50 or $100 chip in for every new monthly gift.

Number 2: Don’t be shy!

Fold in your existing monthly donors and ask them to increase their monthly support during your appeal. For organizations that place a premium on donor LTV: remember, these are people that your leadership needs to move up the donor file.

Monthly Giving Cornell Lab
Plus, this group will upgrade! They are your most loyal donors and they understand your mission— what you’re trying to make better in the world. Maybe just wait until they’ve been a monthly donor for at least three months?

Number 1: Prioritize Monthly Giving in Paid Search

Whether you are looking to get your monthly giving program off the ground, thinking of how best to make use of your possibly limited paid media budget, or thinking of enhancing your annual giving program, consider prioritizing monthly giving with your paid search budget. Large or small, local or global, leveraging this channel in this way can be incredibly cost-effective.

As new things catch our eye, we’ll be sure to share. In the meantime, want to learn more about monthly giving? Send us a note


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