Help Your Board Promote Monthly Giving

Note: This guest post is from Erica Waasdorp, author of a new book, Monthly Giving Made Easy. Thanks, Erica! 

Pandemic lesson number one: you need reliable revenue, no matter what.

Your best solution is monthly giving: encouraging automatic monthly payments from your donors, typically via credit card or electronic funds transfer from their bank to yours.

Monthly giving is a terrific tool for upgrading your donors (including your board) to larger gifts. Here are five great ways that board members can support your monthly donor program.

1. Become monthly donors

Board members can begin by making monthly gifts themselves.

If your organization has an economically diverse board (and it should), monthly gifts are a realistic, scalable tool to grow their support. Do the math: $20 per month equals almost $250 per year; $40 per month works out to nearly $500 per year; and $85 each month is a $1,000 annual gift.

Before using the other strategies listed below, start here: ask your board members to become monthly donors.

2. Share their monthly giving testimonials

Interview board members who choose to make a monthly gift and ask them why. Capture their answers on video. Get it in writing. The more personal, the better.

Share these testimonials with other potential donors through your e-news and website. Donors love hearing from other donors.

This is an easy lift. Most board members will be honored to be asked. Their endorsement counts for a lot.

Pro tip: While you’re at it, encourage them to make brief thank you videos to share when new donors join. It’s fun, it’s simple, and your supporters will be impressed.

3. Thank donors with personal notes and phone calls

Create a special recognition program. Invite your board members to participate by signing personal thank-you notes and making phone calls to new monthly donors, regardless of the amount.

If they’re giving each month themselves, this reinforces their own commitment.

4. Create a matching fund for new monthly donors

Matching gifts – also called challenge gifts – are magical for fundraising. Monthly giving is no exception.

The match doesn’t have to be large, but you need a specific goal and a deadline. Here’s an example using a board-sponsored challenge.

“We’re seeking 25 new monthly donors by [date]. When we reach our goal, our board has generously offered to contribute an additional $2,500. Monthly giving is automatic, easy on your budget, and it will provide  ongoing funds to ensure that …”

Launch your match with a clear deadline – at least a week, often a month – and include email, social media, and even postal mail reminders. I’ve seen success during a single “giving day,” but more time yields better results. Having planted the seed in the donor’s mind, you need to keep reminding them.

If you haven’t yet invited volunteers and staff to participate, this approach also works well with them, too.

Keep your board members up to date on the match (and your monthly giving program in general) by annualizing the revenue: projecting how much money you’ll generate over the year from all these new donors. As you share your success, you may discover that your board will offer a second match and become even more engaged.

5. Reach out to their friends

Once they understand the power of monthly gifts, ask your board members – especially the ones who make monthly gift themselves – to invite their networks to participate.

Because many monthly donors start small, this is an alternative to the traditional “major gifts” strategy assigned to board members. Regardless of the amount, monthly giving brings in new supporters. Because donors tend to set their own giving levels, you might be pleasantly surprised by the size of these initial gifts.

Yes, they can help

There you have it – five ways to engage your board in monthly giving. To sum it up:

● Encourage them to give themselves
● Ask them to thank other monthly donors
● Use them to reach new potential donors

The result: more donors, more money, and a more reliable revenue stream.