A Step-by-Step Plan to Ask for Monthly Gifts

Part 5 in Creating a Monthly Giving Program

Last month, I outlined what you would require to launch a monthly giving program. This month, let’s focus on a step-by-step plan to make the ask for monthly gifts.David A. Mersky

    1. Create a monthly giving launch letter/appeal
      It is now time to sit down and write the first invitation for your target audience to join that most special group of sustaining donors. Get a “picture” of one of those wonderful donors and put it beside your monitor so that as your fingers race across the keyboard, you can visualize her reading the story that will make a compelling connection to the value, first to her, and then to your mission, if she were to agree to contribute by credit card authorization or an electronic funds transfer $15 per month—thus moving from a $100 annual gift to a value of $180.
    2. Develop a web page for monthly giving
      This is the destination to which you will send your prospective sustainers by link in the letter or emails that is dedicated to this concept and simple to navigate. Do not ask for information which you either already have or will never need. Make the transaction so simple that no one will ever abandon the process.
    3. Mail your monthly giving launch letter or email
      At some point, you have to stop editing and polishing. Make sure the package that you put together will be opened—whether it is in print or electronic. Have nothing superfluous in it. Everything that you send should be in support of the one simple request—please become a monthly sustainer. And, when it is good, even great, but not necessarily perfect, hit send or put it in the mail box.
    4. Follow up with a series of emails and phone calls
      Just as Coca-Cola or Budweiser do not depend upon a single advertisement in only one channel, so should you also plan to use every means possible to follow up with your prospective monthly sustainers. If you used snail mail for an initial invitation, then a series of emails and even a telephone call might be employed to move the donor to the desired action.
    5. Welcome new monthly donors
      As we said about stewardship in general last month, a thoughtful, effective and speedily executed plan of post-gift engagement is essential. With credit card authorizations or electronic fund transfers, you should be set up to acknowledge the gift and confirm that the donor will be a monthly sustainer at that level, but you do not need to send monthly letters of appreciation. Once a year is enough but it should provide information as to how the donor can opt out at any time they choose. Then, you should have plan in place to send out whatever welcome package, token of appreciation, communication from the CEO, Board Chair, Chair of the Monthly Sustainer Society, that you have created for all gifts.
    6. Add monthly giving as an option
      Be sure to provide a link on your web site and it in your email signature so that people who may not have been asked might “stumble” upon the opportunity to join your sustainer society. In fact, you should add it to every solicitation device from marketing materials to your current donation website page. You may not get to ask everyone directly, but think about the indirect option for people who learn about the benefits of monthly giving by the example of their friends and colleagues. Make it easy for them to sign up on their own.

NEXT MONTH: Building Momentum: Your Monthly Giving Ask

 LAST MONTH: What You Need to Launch a Monthly Giving Program