5 Reasons a Regular Giving Program Could Help Your Organisation

April 28, 2021 Brian Isaac

5 Reasons a Regular Giving Program Could Help Your Organisation

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s how unexpected circumstances can expose even the most established organisations to financial instability.

As fundraising events were cancelled, volunteers were stuck in lockdown and key donors’ purse-strings were tightened, not-for-profits all over the world experienced a huge hit to their projected revenue – and hence operations.

A regular giving program has many benefits, not least of which is its potential to “future-proof” your organisation – giving your teams the best chance to weather whatever tomorrow may hold.

Read on to find out more…

1. Regular giving programs boost donor retention – and donation volume

It’s human nature to feel daunted by one-off large expenses… but when we break things down into monthly increments, they seem much more achievable and realistic  – which can lead to a rise in giving overall.

In fact, a recent report showed that monthly donors give 42% more in one year than one-time donors .

But if you’re concerned this could signify a drop in those one-off cash gifts, worry no more. 

Another source found that regular givers actually make one-off gifts 75% more often than one-time donors  – and that’s on top of their regular giving plan. 

What’s more is those one-off gifts from regulars are also higher on average than those made by donors who aren’t on a regular giving plan. 

One explanation for this is the sense of trust and ownership that regular giving programs foster. 

Think about it. Are you more likely to help out a friend who you see a couple of times a year, or every month? Probably the latter.

Frequent contact grows a relationship. Regular giving programs are a great way to deepen your donors’ emotional investment in your organisation’s mission. 

(In our third blog post in this series, we will be revealing some tried and tested methods to foster this relationship with outstanding results. Sign up to our mailing list and we’ll let you know when the post goes live.)

2. A regular giving program provides financial stability 

In our modern landscape of constant change, financial stability and independence are key.

Regular giving programs provide a far greater guarantee of financial certainty than the outcomes of seasonal campaigns, as they are less susceptible to the impacts of external circumstances.

As we saw in Blackbaud’s recent Future of Fundraising Whitepaper, campaigns for one-off donations through appeals and events were hit hard in 2020, while donations coming through regular giving programs are predicted to stay strong throughout the ups and downs of the coming decade. 

One possible reason for this is the effort required of your donors.

Financial models that rely on one-off donations inherently require donors to “opt-in” to donate. 

So when an appeal is sent out during circumstances like COVID, all that background stress and uncertainty is going to be colouring donors’ perceptions while they consider how much they can afford to give, or even whether they are in a position to give at all.

In this scenario, it requires more effort for your donors to give than it does for them not to – which is much more likely to happen when donors are busy, stressed and don’t have time to read your appeals.

And let’s face it – with our 21st century pacing of day-to-day life, most donors are time-poor when they receive appeals from us!
However, in a regular giving model, donors by default have already decided to give. If circumstances mean they can no longer afford to, or choose not to continue giving, they’d need to “opt-out” of their regular donations.

In this scenario, it requires more effort for donors NOT to give than it does TO give.

This enhanced stability and security in your organisation’s revenue makes budgeting and planning for the future a lot easier. 

It also safeguards your operations from becoming overdependent on a few large givers – as the age-old adage proclaims: don’t keep all your eggs in the one basket.

Imagine what a steady, diversified revenue could do for your organisation’s financial health… not to mention your team’s stress levels, which would no longer be at the mercy of seasonal peaks and troughs in giving!

3. Regular giving programs are much less hassle for your donors

One reason for this is the effort required on the donor’s part. 

Take our friend Janice.

Janice receives an appeal from a NFP at tax-time. She skims the material she’s been sent and decides she’d like to make a donation.

Then comes the reply form. Janice looks at the form, considers her budget, and starts to fill it out… but is then interrupted when her phone rings. 

The dinner rush takes over, and it’s another week before Janice finds the half-completed reply form again.

Janice then has to go through the emotional and rational decision-making process again to decide whether she still wants to donate, how much she wants to give, and whether she’s actually got the time to find her wallet, finish the form and take it to a post box.

If your organisation relies purely on one-off donations rather than a regular giving program, donors like Janice have to go through this process – every single time.

As you can see, that’s a lot of potential for your donors to become distracted and not get around to making a donation at all!

But if the appeal was asking for a monthly donation, Janice would only have to go through that process once.

And not only that, when future communications from your organisation arrive, Janice literally has a vested interest to open, read, and learn how her money’s doing good.

I don’t know about you… but I’d much rather donors see my organisation’s correspondence as an interesting update on their investment, rather than an emotionally draining chore of decisions to make! 

4. Regular giving programs make your organisation’s resources go further

Does your team experience cycles of creativity, motivation and burnout? 

If you haven’t yet, then you very likely could without a regular giving program. Here’s why:

Constantly trying to dream up creative new fundraising events and campaigns is exhausting – especially when the resulting donations aren’t as high as you were hoping.

Research has found that it’s far easier to retain donors than attract new ones … so it makes sense to focus your efforts there.

Once you donors tick over the one-year mark in your monthly giving program, average retention rates skyrocket to 80% – leaving the retention rates of new donors well and truly in the dust, at around 23%. 

5. Running a successful regular giving program is easy

If you think monthly donation programs are only something that really huge, well-known charities with big admin budgets (and even bigger promotional budgets) can afford… think again.

Nowadays, membership management software like Raiser’s Edge does all the administration for you, leaving more time for you and your team to focus on your organisation’s mission.

From processing donations to updating the client database to sending confirmation emails, Blackbaud CRM software enables not-for-profits to completely automate (and hence eliminate) the administrative burden of a regular giving system.

It’s also easy for your donors, who can view, edit or cancel their membership online in a mere matter of clicks.

These days, turning one-off donors and passionate volunteers into regular, monthly givers is much easier than you might’ve thought.

Why not explore a regular giving program for your organisation today?

Sign up to our mailing list to be notified when we release our next posts in this series.

Or to find out how modern client management software can streamline your organisation’s operations, contact us.

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