5 Questions to Ask Before Launching Your Regular Giving Program

May 13, 2021 Brian Isaac

5 Reasons a Regular Giving Program Could Help Your Organisation

In our first post in this series, we explored the 5 Reasons a Regular Giving Program Could Help Your Organisation.

Whether you’re planning to launch a monthly donation program for the first time, or are looking to review your current program to maximise its effectiveness, the following five questions will help make sure everyone in your team is ready for launch.

Read on to find out more…

1. Is everyone on the same page?

It’s human nature: we operate better when we know why we’re doing something.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that getting your staff on board with understanding why you’re launching a regular giving program is critical.

If your staff can see that the regular giving program (or crucially, its members) will become the source of your organisation’s vitality and longevity, they’ll be more inclined to really get behind its success.

Make sure to amplify the importance of the regular giving programs for the future of your organisation in internal communications. Think staff meetings, newsletters, intranet, and emails.

A fun internal challenge could be a friendly competition to see who in your organisation can bring in the most monthly donors during the “soft launch” phase… you could compete as individual staff and board members, or as teams by department!

 

2. What are you aiming for?

As with any organisational project, it’s important to evaluate progress via goalsetting. Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based (SMART) goals allow your team to objectively track the success of your campaign.

An example of a SMART goal for a regular giving program you’re about to launch could be to convert 20% of your client base to members of the program in the first 3 months from launching.

Another one could be to build up to a monthly revenue of $10,000 by the one-year anniversary from launching.

Longer-term goals for established giving programs could include converting 15% of the program’s members to a higher-value tier per month.

Of course, you’d fill in the figures that realistically suit your organisation’s size and client base.

Using SMART goals will allow your team to objectively analyse the cold, hard data and make any adjustments to your program as necessary for greater success.

3. Who are you targeting?

As anyone who’s ever worked with client database software would know, there are a LOT of possibilities for potential target audiences.

Do you want to give first-time donors the option to make a monthly gift, or do you want to wait until their second or third gift to put an offer in front of them?

To make the most of your communications budget, it could be worth directing at least the initial campaign to those most likely to respond – for example, those who’ve already made multiple donations, or large donations in the past. You already know these donors are deeply committed to your cause, so the ask will be much easier.

Find out how to segment communications to specific audiences in your database using modern client management software such as Blackbaud’s Raiser’s Edge.

4. What’s your marketing plan?

Which channels are you going to engage – social media, emails, inserts with your direct mail campaigns?

Create a dated timeline to map out the campaign milestones – this is really handy in tying in with your goalsetting.

Consider staggering your campaign with a “soft launch” and “hard launch”. This allows your most dedicated supporters to feel rewarded with advanced notice before the rest of the world knows about the program… plus it also gives you the chance to troubleshoot any glitches that arise on a smaller scale before the hard launch.

When it comes to the question of ‘how much?’, Erica Waasdorp, author of Monthly Giving: The Sleeping Giant, suggests setting your monthly ask for new donors to one-third of your average one-time gift. If your average single donation is $60, set your first monthly gift level at $20 (an ideal starting point), then add options for $40, $60 or more for your higher value donors.

5. Is your infrastructure ready?

When a donor expresses interest in signing up, where will they be directed to? Consider setting up a dedicated page on your website just for your program.

This page could have information on the impact your donors will have with the specific monthly amount they choose (infographics are great for this), and what special benefits they’ll receive by becoming members.

Before jumping into a huge marketing push calling for program members, it’s vital to ensure your fundraising and donor management software is equipped for regular giving.

For responses that come in from a direct mail campaign, ensure your staff are trained in how to enter these responses into your database specifically under the recurring giving program.

And once donors have made the commitment, it’s vital that they receive a heartfelt thank you message both on screen, via email, and possibly even over the phone or in the post.

Our next blog post in this series will dive deeper into other successful communication strategies for corresponding with members of regular giving programs – sign up to our mailing list to be notified when it goes live!

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