Recurring Donations are Key to Growing Your Non-Profit

Recurring Monthly Donation blog post

Build Donor Lists to Increase Recurring Revenue

When you are building your donor list it’s important to ask them to become monthly donors instead of just making a one-time donation. Writing your letters to speak to your donors in a way that gets these results is paramount. Monthly donations may be smaller than one-time donations, but, they add up to be three to four times more during a single year.
A major part of any campaign is making sure the data you’re using is accurate. According to the US Post Office, 40% of the success of any direct mail campaign is directly related to the quality and accuracy of the mail list used. Spectrum can work with you to append the list you’re currently using or acquire a new list based on demographics and geographic information. We provide full-service mailing list processing using a combination of industry-standard software applications and a unique proprietary system to ensure that every customer list is optimized for effective delivery.
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Monthly Donations Add Up

Donating less money more times during one year is better than large one-time donations

As a non-profit, having a source of reliable income is essential when you’re trying to budget and plan events. The most reliable source for non-profits is arguably recurring monthly donations.[1] When donors give once they give as much as $120 on average, while a monthly donation on average is about $38. Though that may sound small, when you extrapolate that amount over 12 months, it adds up significantly.

Focus on converting one-time donors to monthly ones

Over one year a monthly donor could give up to $456 or more depending on the amount they promised when signing up. That’s almost 4 times as much as a one-time donation. Now, not all donors give for an entire year, though, 75% of donors will keep their plan in place for the first 6 months and many continue to give for years.[1] At the low end, that’s still 2 times more than a one-time donation.
Center for the Blind Brochure
Casa Return card with magnifying glass
I will become a sustaining donor with a recurring gift of $_____ deducted rom my credit card. I understand I can cancel this auto-deduction at any time.

Focus on converting one-time donors to monthly ones

While recurring monthly donations are invaluable to your organization one-time donations are still valuable. The best thing to do is to offer all of your one-time donors the option to turn their one-time donations into recurring monthly ones. That being said, in the first year of signing up, recurring monthly donors make additional one-time gifts 75% more often than one-time donors.[1] Spectrum has years of industry insights that can help you build an effective marketing campaign.
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Have a reliable source of income to budget for the year with monthly recurring donations.

Individuals Donate the Most

Foundations donate large amounts to non-profits but it pales in comparison to individuals

Individuals make up the majority of all donations to non-profits. Individuals account for two-thirds of all donations. Adding in gifts from wills, individuals account for almost 80% of all giving. The donating public, not big foundations or corporations, is responsible for the majority of annual donations.[2] In 2017 foundations, which include grants, gave $66.9 billion or just 16% of all donations.[2] Focus on delivering heartwarming content to individuals if you want to start gaining more recurring donors. Talk to one of our industry specialists about crafting the perfect fundraising letter.
Fundraising brochure

Foundations only give 16% of all donations. The majority comes from individuals.

Brand Your Material

Branded pages garner more recurring donations

Branded marketing materials across the board help initiate a recurring gift. Donors are 31% more likely to initiate a recurring gift on a branded donation page versus a generic one.[3] Making the most of your direct mail plan by designing your material to match your donation page and vice versa is paramount to increasing recurring gifts. Spectrum is adept at creating multi-channel marketing programs that have consistency across direct mail, social media, email, and online web banner retargeting.
Easterseals Maine thanks you bifold direct mail
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Don’t make your donors think

On average, recurring gift installments are 43% larger on a branded page that includes suggested donation amounts.[3] Include multiple amount of suggested donation amounts as well as a custom amount. Suggesting an amount will help point your monthly donations remain consistent on the low-end especially where some people will default to the lowest amount.

Donors are 31% more likely to initiate a recurring gift on a branded donation page versus a generic one.

Share Success Stories

Most donors want to know where their money is going and who they’re helping

Sharing your success stories can help connect your audience to your efforts. Showing the emotion behind your organization will help connect your donors to your cause. 60% of people want to receive success stories and impact.[4] Implement a strategy to collect and share beneficiary stories with donors. Let Spectrum Marketing help you create your newsletters (or other marketing materials) to include those beneficiary stories. The preferred method of outreach is personalized letters by 46%.[4] The least preferred method is phone calls by 8%.

Share your stories both sides recurring monthly donations
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The preferred method of outreach is personalized letters by 46%.

Recurring Monthly Donations Are Cost Effective

A recurring monthly donor will donate forever (until they cancel)

Recurring monthly programs are cost effective because you need to do a lot less to maintain that relationship. Once someone becomes a monthly donor they already consider you a trusted organization and it’s so much easier to ask them to continue donating than to convert them to a new donor.[5] Historically, this is true with any kind of retail store, restaurant, etc. and the same is true for non-profits. Occasionally send your current monthly donors updates on your work or share new success stories with them. Invite them “behind the scenes” to show how their ongoing contributions are making a difference to ensure that they keep donating.
Spring Appeal Rivier fundraising direct mail marketing

Improve message relevancy with personalization

Adding personalized fields to your letters can also help you connect with individuals in a way a generically written letter can not. Include the person’s name and anything else you know about them. If they donated in the past, mention that in your letter and tailor it to fit each person. Spectrum Marketing can help you build a personalized campaign with variable data fields in your direct mail to really improve your relationship with your donors.
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Once you’ve built trust with a donor they’re more likely to continue to donate and marketing to them is much more cost effective than converting new donors.

Recurring monthly donations make up the majority of giving and are arguably the most reliable form of giving for non-profits. Spectrum has a large array of direct mail marketing programs that your company or organization can customize to incorporate ways to get one-time donors to sign up for recurring donations. Let us design omni-channel campaigns to improve the campaigns effectiveness with email marketing, web targeting, and event signs and banners. Learn more about our non-profit program!

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