Monthly Giving Programs Help Donor Retention

We all know that donor retention is key when it comes to fundraising because it’s far easier and more cost effective to keep your current donors than it is to find new ones.

One way to increase donor retention is to offer a recurring gift option through a Monthly Giving Program. Even in difficult financial times, a Monthly Giving Program is a way for donors to continue their support without breaking the bank. A Monthly Giving Program provides:

  • An easy way for your donors to feel connected and supportive of your cause.
  • A reliable source of financial support for your nonprofit, which can help with your planning and budgeting.
  • A small administrative commitment, following set-up, so more of the donation is used to support programs.
  • A convenient way for donors to support causes they care about.

Have a Program?

If you have a program, now is the time to increase your promotion via your outgoing communications, including the organization’s:

  • Newsletter – this offers a great opportunity to feature a current monthly donor and share information about how to join your exclusive group of monthly donors.
  • Website home page and ways to support page - you should also consider creating a separate monthly giving page like this one.
  • Social media channels – use Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and others.
  • Board members and volunteers – engage them to help spread the word via personal emails and outreach to their networks.
  • Mailings – in addition to standard mailings, a specialized monthly giving ‘invitation’ mailings can also be created.

To get started, reach out to donors who have given smaller gifts consistently and shown loyalty of 3+ years. It also makes sense to consider those that interact with your organization in other ways, i.e. signing petitions, responding to requests for help, volunteering/interning, etc. These supporters may not be capable of large gifts, but small gifts made on a regular basis can really add up!


In every communication, be sure to focus on the benefit to the organization and the benefits to the donor. Donors like to see how their donations directly support the organization. Be as specific as possible, including statistics, and images and video as appropriate, when sharing where funds will be directed and any outcomes.

You may consider creating extra value for those that make monthly donations by offering them a special status within your community. Offering this “upgrade” to be a part of a dedicated group can also help you keep monthly donors separate internally so that they are not on your regular solicitation list.

Want to Create a Program?

If you don’t have a formal program, now is a perfect time to develop one. Consider creating a comprehensive strategy that includes:

  • A Streamlined Infrastructure – having a backend system that can automate the sign-up process, track donor contact information and process payments is crucial. Pay special attention to the donor experience during and after sign-up. It should be user-friendly.
  • Identifying Monthly Giving Prospects – target recent donors with a personalized “ask” and explanation as to why your organization needs monthly gifts and what impact they will have on those you serve. Donors want reassurance that their gift will make an impact.
  • Your Recruitment Process – in addition to developing and reaching out directly, identify and communicate how you will alert all donors that the monthly giving option exists. See bullets under “Have a Program?” above for help on this one.
  • Benefits/Recognition – communicate the details to answer the question, “What’s in it for me?” Be sure to identify how you will help donors who give monthly the “satisfaction” of knowing that they are making a difference. Regularly recognize their contributions and affirm what outcomes they are helping make possible.
  • Donor Stewardship – lay out every step of the process that will transpire after a donation occurs. Ensure that you thank them personally every month and include a story and visuals about how their donation is being utilized. Identify who will handle this in your organization, what they will do and when they will complete it.

A well-planned and executed Monthly Giving Program can provide reliable monthly revenue and help cultivate strong donor relationships. Creating a successful campaign takes work but the result of dedicated donors that provide ongoing support is well worth it.

About Rachel M. Decker

Having spent nearly 20 years in the nonprofit sector as an effective and strategic fundraising and foundation executive, Detroit Philanthropy Founder and President, Rachel Decker is passionate about helping others, making meaningful connections, solving problems and, most importantly, creating impact in our community. With the founding of Detroit Philanthropy, she turned that passion into a commitment to champion philanthropy throughout metro Detroit as a philanthropic advisor, fundraising consultant and speaker.

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