We are winding down summer and entering the fall season of giving – headed right to end-of-year appeals. If your organization has never considered a sustainer giving strategy, now is a good time to take the first steps to implement this long-term fundraising initiative.
Monthly sustained giving is a definitive best practice within nonprofit organizations. The most successful organizations are pursuing sustaining donors with every appeal and dedicating internal resources to this strategic plan. Innovative fundraising efforts are needed for nonprofits to adapt to a changing environment and a sustaining program can help you predict a steady revenue stream.
While this is a great time of year to start thinking of ways to engage your donor base with sustaining donation messages, keep in mind it is a long-term strategy that can take up to 5 years to obtain a solid base of sustainers. Sustainer giving is beneficial for donors because it’s easy and convenient and they can see their regular, monthly impact. Additionally, it appeals to a younger demographic that is used to a “monthly subscription” type payment plan. If you are looking for ways to engage younger donors, Millennials have grown up more accustomed to having automatic payments and subscription-type agreements with several businesses and organizations. Everything from bill-paying to Netflix and dating apps run off of a monthly billing, automatic pay cycle for this demographic.
Here are a few quick ways to get you started with sustainer strategy in the upcoming months:
- Recruit your sustainers online. Your organization’s website is a great place to start marketing a sustainer giving program. Donors are already comfortable using your online process to make a donation.
- Update your donation form with a sustained giving option. You can add an option to your existing form, or consider creating a separate donation form just for sustainers. This allows you to expand on the benefits of becoming a sustaining donor.
- Dedicate at least 2-3 annual fundraising campaigns to highlighting sustainer giving programs. Provide insight to how the organization benefits from monthly giving (increased research focus, program dollars etc.) as well as the benefits the donor receives (convenience, fits within monthly budgeting, etc.)
- Segment your campaign audience to a specific target list. Think carefully about who you should target to become monthly donors and track the success of the targeted group. A good place to start is donors who already contribute to your organization multiple times throughout the year during multiple campaigns.
It’s becoming more difficult to acquire new donors, and even more difficult to retain single-gift donors. Quite frankly, there is a lot of competition for donor dollars in the nonprofit industry. However, if you take the time to put a sustainer donor strategy into place, and track the success, you can have monthly income for your organization that is predictable and reliable.