Dear Kim:

We have a monthly donor program set up and it has around 20 donors. My question to you is how do we market this better?

~I Am All Ears

Dear Ears:

I love monthly donor programs because they allow people to make much bigger gifts than they otherwise could, and they give an organization a steady stream of income. The secret of marketing a monthly donor program is to do it all the time, everywhere.  Have it on your website in several places, talk about it in your newsletter, profile individuals who are monthly donors, create a club or society of monthly donors and give them a few inexpensive benefits, put it on your reply cards, and make sure that board members, staff and volunteers are all very familiar with it, and that as many of them as possible are monthly donors themselves.  Once a year, have an appeal that is specifically devoted to asking current donors to consider becoming monthly donors.  Ask all your current monthly donors to find two more monthly donors and build the program that way.

The other part of a monthly donor program is making sure you have the “back office” elements in place: you thank the donors annually, you note if they miss a payment, you notify them when their credit card needs to be renewed and so on.  A lot of organizations have dozens of monthly donors but they don’t maintain their records and their relationships properly, and so after 12 months, the donor stops giving monthly and often stops giving at all.

In these roller coaster times, keeping donors is of paramount importance because attracting new donors is much harder.

Good luck!

~Kim Klein