How to increase monthly donors for sustainable fundraising

Posted: Dec 30th, 2020 Updated: Dec 30, 2020

You may think superheroes defeat super villains because of their superpowers, but often it's their circle of trusted friends that are the most powerful weapons. Where would Batman be without Robin, Alfred or Commissioner Gordon?

Your committed monthly donors are the same. They’re the ones who will get you through slump seasons, shifting donation trends and even pandemics. Not enough organizations pay attention to finding or retaining monthly donors, preferring large one-time donations and high-profile events to the slow trickle that is monthly giving.

The thing is, it all adds up. Donors that start out with $10 a month can grow to become some of your biggest champions. A large base of committed monthly donors is the holy grail of fundraising - here’s how to find and keep them!


Why do I need monthly donors?

Not convinced monthly donors are worth it? Current research demonstrates the average monthly donor gives 42% more in one year than those who donate once. Monthly donations also raise more over time, connect you to new networks (as your donors expand theirs) and have higher retention rates. By not asking for monthly donations you’re missing out on a regular stream of income that could last for a lifetime!


Convert one-time donors

The best people to ask are those who’ve already given. If you don’t have a monthly giving program already, launch one. Those who have already shown commitment to your cause once are likely to give again - or they might share your monthly giving program with friends.


Recruit monthly donors through specific drives

It’s always great when a new donor just checks the box “donate monthly,” but if your organization really wants to increase recurring gifts, you need to make the specific ask. Better yet, make it a fundraising drive with specific goals and objectives that are clearly communicated to your donor list (read more about mini-drives). Setting these objectives, and reinforcing them over a short period of time, will create urgency, reinforce your message, and help a potential monthly donor understand the impact her or she can have by supporting your organization.


Trust = Commitment

Don’t expect a steady stream of monthly donors as soon as you begin. It takes time to build commitment, so show donors you can be trusted. Send regular emails with photos and videos of the work you’re doing. Feature donors who are happy with your monthly program and make sure potential donors know exactly what their monthly gift will buy. As soon as someone signs up - make sure you thank them and send them regular updates on how their monthly donation is making an impact on your organization and mission.


Design a process

Building trust with hundreds of donors isn’t easy. Fundraising tools like FundHero can help you set up and track processes related to monthly giving. Our tasks and reminders allow you to keep track and assign tasks to team members. You can also monitor donations - and ensure your donors are updated and thanked on time. A well-designed process that is clearly communicated to your team is the best way to sustain monthly donation programs.


Exclusive offers and perks

Finally, make sure your club of monthly donors feels special. Their regular contributions allow your fundraising team to focus elsewhere - so make sure they’re not forgotten. Matching donations, exclusive events, discounted merchandise and social media shout outs are all great ways to keep them engaged - and giving!

As all fundraisers know, a healthy mix of funding streams is what every organization needs. We’re not telling you to ignore high profile events or stop going after those big checks - but if your base is feeling a bit shaky, now's the time to take a look at your long-term supporters, develop a funnel to encourage monthly giving and make sure they’re getting the acknowledgement they deserve!


Struggling to get started? Check out FundHero’s sample monthly donor fundraising drive here. Coming Soon.


Rachel Rao

Rachel is a marketing and communications consultant based in Mumbai, India. She focuses on conceptualizing brand identities and digital media campaigns for social businesses, non-profits, and startups. Her work is set in contexts of public education, corporate social responsibility, philanthropy, rural research, and social conflict mediation. She is passionate about effective and impactful storytelling and good coffee. Rachel has an MA in English Literature from the University of York and a Diploma in Communications for Development (C4D).