Monthly-First Fundraising Without the Confusion

October 13, 2021 | Grace Duginski
Monthly-First Fundraising Without the Confusion

Some nonprofits are blazing a new trail in the world of sustainer programs: monthly-first fundraising.

By now, you’ve probably heard that sustainer programs are smart investments for nonprofits of all sizes who want to build long-term relationships with donors, unlock higher donor lifetime values, raise more money, and do it all in an efficient and reliable way.

These are all strong reasons to prioritize monthly giving — but how do you communicate this strategy clearly to your donors? Our friend Hannah Leigh-Brown, Associate Director of Client Services and Digital Marketing at Interactive Strategies, clued us in.

Q: How can nonprofits use a monthly-first fundraising strategy, without confusing donors?

Even when you’ve made a good faith attempt to specify that donors are making a monthly gift, people may still get confused. Set the expectation internally that there may always be some questions! What you should weigh is the potential for confusion, versus actually securing a higher number of sustaining gifts from happy donors who like the convenience and reliability of monthly gifts. Most organizations we’re seeing, when they evaluate their options, realize it is worth it to go monthly-first.

That said, I think there are three things you can do to make your monthly-first fundraising strategy more obvious.

Ask String and Donate Button

When your donor hits that monthly-first page, make it clear that it’s a monthly gift. Something we do sometimes is on the ask string, if you start with $5, $10, or $15, you can put “/monthly” on the ask string itself so that it’s very clear when you’re clicking on that $15 that it will be a monthly gift. You can also add that “/monthly” call-out on the “Donate Now” submit button, so it says, “Submit $15/month.”

Clear Alternatives

Another action you can take is to make it very clear how to toggle back to give a one-time gift. With a little visual cue like an arrow or a nudge, you can say, “Hey, want to make a one-time gift instead? Click here.” This way, supporters can easily see they’re currently in a state where they’re making a monthly gift, but that they can switch to make a one-time gift.

Donor Services

A third thing you can do when switching to monthly-first fundraising is to flag that strategy change for your Donor Services team, or whoever’s liaising with donors and answering questions. We say this because you will likely get some questions from donors when you make that change for the first time, and your team needs to be able to answer questions and make sure that people are clear on and happy with the donations they’re making. This way, you can retain your sustaining donors for the long run.