Monthly Giving Programs Guide: 25 Examples, Names, & Tips

August 21, 2022
10 minutes
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Is there anything so beautiful in the fundraising world as the steady cadence of recurring donations? We think not. Besides being a source of sure-fire revenue, they keep you connected to your donor community, boost donor retention, and lighten the load when it comes to time-consuming admin work and brain-consuming strategic planning.

Naturally, Funraise is big on growth through fundraising, and one way to keep the growth growing is through recurring giving programs. That’s not lip service, either—check out these stats that prove our tools and tactics work:

  • Organizations using Funraise grew online revenue 77% on average in 2020.
  • Organizations using Funraise grew recurring revenue 53% on average in 2020.
  • In 2020, the average monthly gift on Funraise was $40—double the industry average of $21.

(You can find out more about our reporting methods and sources on our Growth Statistics page.)

In short, we heart monthly giving. So, how can you build an effective, efficient, and effortless monthly giving program? Read on, friend, and let’s get those recurring donations flowing fast and furious.

6 Monthly giving program examples we love

To kick things off, how about a little recurring giving inspo? These campaigns dazzled and delighted us here at Funraise—and they saw results, so clearly donors felt the same way. Check out the real-world monthly giving program examples below to jumpstart your recurring giving program.

1. Encircle—our favorite monthly giving campaign

Encircle's monthly giving campaign is giving us all the can't-miss vibes. From the videos to the impact levels to the local impact, this recurring program generates serious FOMO.

What we love about it:

Encircle's monthly donation program webpage features

  • multiple monthly donation options displayed prominently on the donation page
  • background video and imagery that adds emotional connection and trust
  • a donation form that defaults to monthly frequency
  • a clear description of their monthly donors' impact
  • motivational headlines like
  • "100% of your donation goes to the program, therapy and operations of the Encircle home of your choice."
  • "Join our community of monthly donors bringing life saving services to LBGTQ+ youth and families in need."

Here's how Encircle made it work:

Encircle's Community Circle webpage

Encircle's cleverly-named monthly program, “The Community Circle”, is more than just a nice tie-in to the organization name; it also inspires and builds trust with potential donors. Another connection-establishing feature of this unique program page is a clear and actionable donation form and supplementary background information.

Additionally, the video behind the donation form is an excellent design choice. As donors progress through the form, true-to-life moving images of the people their donation will support play in the background, creating motivation to give and a sense of belonging from the start. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a thousand donations.

Encircle's impact levels

Another great feature of Encircle's monthly donation page? On-brand illustrations for each impact level. Impact levels ground donors with a sense of what their donations can provide for your organization, empowering donors and gives them a clear understanding of the importance of their donation.

Encircle's community-centric options

And finally, one of our favorite features of this page is the option for donors to give directly to an Encircle home in their community. Enabling the donor to choose where their donation is used each month creates a stronger connection between the donor and the impact of their gift. The closer a donor is to the actual impact they're helping create, the more likely your nonprofit is to retain the donor for a long and valuable giving relationship.

2. One Tail at a Time—our favorite membership-based monthly giving campaign

When it comes to member perks, One Tail at a Time (OTAT) has a monthly giving campaign that really delivers. From puppy naming rights to open house access and exclusive updates across the board, OTAT makes membership a memorable experience.

What we love about it:

OTAT's monthly donation program website features

  • monthly donation options available directly in the website navigation
  • donation buttons that default to multiple monthly donation options
  • clear description of the impact of monthly donors
  • emotional images that cultivate a connection
  • exclusive monthly member gifts and incentives
  • motivational headlines like "Becoming an OTAT Member is one of the simplest but most important ways to help care for our foster pets. Members make a monthly donation of their choice to save lives 365 days a year."

Here's how One Tail at a Time made it work:

OTAT membership page

OTAT shows website visitors they value their monthly donors' commitment through onsite communication and clear call-to-action buttons in the top navigation. Basically, the nudge to “Become a Member” is everywhere! Although members are functionally the same as monthly donors, by branding their monthly giving program as membership program, OTAT creates a community of supporters whose giving transforms them from donors into essential contributors to OTAT's impact.

OTAT's membership options

OTAT also gives special recognition and rewards to donors who give at larger monthly amounts. For example, donors who give more than $100 each month get to join OTAT's Blue Heart Giving Circle.

Membership programs are great for local community-based organizations like OTAT because they allow donors to effectively impact their local community at a level that works with their budget and values. Local members who donate monthly, wear branded shirts, and volunteer locally are the backbone of many community organizations.

OTAT membership gifts

OTAT incentivizes their monthly giving program members at sign up with branded thank-you gifts that act as double duty motivators, increasing signup conversions and empowering monthly donors to rep OTAT in their community. Members proudly wear shirts, hats, and tote bags that show their enthusiasm and support, increasing brand awareness.

Besides physical gifts, OTAT also has member benefits for other levels of giving, like access to their open house events and exclusive membership updates. By providing exclusive communications and opportunities, monthly donors feel special and are inspired to sustain their long-term giving.

3. Feeding Tampa Bay—our favorite impact-focused monthly giving campaign

Feeding Tampa Bay's exceptional donation page is easily accessible from the top navigation, with the donation page and main donation form highlighting their monthly giving program options. Donors will only give monthly if you ask them, so it's important to highlight and promote your monthly giving program.

What we love about it:

Feeding Tampa Bay's monthly donation program website features

  • monthly donation option displayed prominently on the donation page
  • community-centric monthly giving program
  • donation button that defaults to monthly frequency
  • donation impact descriptions
  • multiple monthly donation amount options
  • explanatory video
  • motivational headlines like
  • "ForkLifters is an incredible community composed of generous, passionate, and committed donors on a mission to end hunger in Tampa Bay."
  • "$10/month - Feed a local child for one month. That's 30 days a child can just focus on being a kid."

Here's how Feeding Tampa Bay made it work:

Feeding Tampa Bay custom donation page

Feeding Tampa Bay built a specific page dedicated to explaining the benefits of their monthly donation program, appropriately and cleverly named ForkLifters. By sticking to their specific theme, Feeding Tampa Bay gives supporters a special community to rally around and support.

Feeding Tampa Bay community page

Feeding Tampa Bay also provides accessible impact levels so that all types of donors can get involved. Their monthly giving impact levels empower donors by providing a clear understanding of the impact of their donation and helping donors breaking down their gift into a per-day amount; for example, a $25 monthly donation translates to only 82¢ per day.

Feeding Tampa Bay impact levels

Another way Feeding Tampa Bay focuses on the impact of donations is through a nicely-produced video that shows the impact of a monthly donation and a preview of the monthly donor experience. Sharing the perks of being a monthly donor is an important part of motivating donors to give monthly.

Program perks like an exclusive newsletter or discount codes to Feeding Tampa Bay's shop not only encourage new monthly donors to sign up but are also an important part of monthly donor retention.

4. Innocence Project—our favorite small-donation monthly giving campaign

When we think of monthly giving, we often think in terms of the lifetime value of a donor or their total yearly donation, but many times we gloss over that monthly amount. It’s worth noting that Innocence Project does a great job of attracting donors that prefer to give a small amount monthly; highlighting smaller donation options on their monthly giving campaign page delivers exactly what potential donors are looking for.

What we love about it:

Innocence Project's monthly donation program website features

  • monthly donation options available directly in the website navigation
  • donation buttons that default to multiple monthly donation options
  • celebratory quotes from monthly donors
  • clear description of the impact of monthly donors
  • emotional images that cultivate a connection
  • strong headlines and monthly donor program communications
  • "Help free the innocent every month."
  • "The Innocence Project represents innocent clients for an average of 7 years before they’re freed. Monthly support allows us to keep fighting, no matter how long it takes."
  • "We're all on a mission to reform the criminal justice system, and our most dedicated supporters become Innocence Advocates to make a difference each month."

Here's how Innocence Project made it work:

Innocence Project site navigation

Innocence Project's website has a constant donation button in the top navigation that provides “Give Once” and “Give Monthly” options. By promoting their monthly giving option in this way, Innocence Project answers potential donors' question, "How can I best support the work?" with crystal clear answers that don't dance around what the organization really needs.

Innocence Project donation page

While Innocence Project doesn't have a unique brand or community for its monthly giving program, the monthly donation page provides several donation amounts that default to monthly frequency when donors open the donation form and the impact of monthly donations is clearly communicated, which encourages donors to commit to monthly giving.

Innocence Project donor quotes

A key feature of Innocence Project's monthly donation program website is the warm quotes from devoted monthly donors. These quotes add a significant amount of trust and legitimacy to the monthly donation program.

Long-term giving on Innocence Project's website

The monthly giving page also shares how monthly donors have such a big impact on Innocence Project by communicating the long-term nature of some of their work. For example, "The Innocence Project represents innocent clients for an average of 7 years before they’re freed. Monthly support allows us to keep fighting, no matter how long it takes." is a powerful, time-focused explanation.

5. Lemonade International—our favorite emotional connection monthly giving campaign

The secret to Lemonade International's monthly giving campaign success goes back to the emotional connection they build with donors. Identifying specific and practical ways a monthly donation will impact a child, like medical checkups and food provisions, inspires donors to keep giving regularly.

What we love about it:

Lemonade International's monthly donation program website features

  • donation buttons that default to multiple monthly donation options
  • monthly donation options available directly in the website navigation
  • clear description of the impact of monthly donors
  • emotional images that cultivate a connection
  • exclusive monthly member gifts and incentives
  • motivational headlines like
  • "Building a healthy family and strong community starts with one child."
  • "Sponsor a child in La Limonada and become a vital part of breaking cycles of poverty, violence, and injustice."

Here's how Lemonade International made it work:

Lemonade International child sponsorship

Lemonade International's monthly donation website's clear impact statement and user-friendly design encourage potential donors to continue scrolling. By placing images next to donation buttons, Lemonade International links emotions and donation. Further, Lemonade International has made it clear that sponsoring a child monthly is the most important action a supporter can take—with each monthly donation impacting a sponsored child, donors feel the urgency and necessity behind their commitment.

Lemonade International child benefits

Another nice approach here is that monthly donors can choose between full and partial sponsorships, allowing a wide range of donors to have the same impact, regardless of budget. Providing all levels of donors with a way to participate brings everyone together around a clear mission.

Lemonade International full and partial sponsorships

Offering a specific amount for a monthly donation ask also communicates to donors that Lemonade International has a plan and knows exactly what's needed to create impact. For example, "$40 a month provides a partial sponsorship to a child in need." communicates competency and inspires trust for potential donors.

6. Fly Fishing Collaborative—our favorite multimedia giving campaign

Fly Fishing Collaborative's giving campaign site is submerging us in a gorgeous forest oasis with compelling photographs and a beautiful website design. Through stunning visual storytelling elements, FFC's campaign site is building a solid network of supporters.

What we love about it:

FFC's monthly donation program webpage features

  • multiple monthly donation options that inform donors of the direct impact of their contributions
  • gorgeous media that adds an emotional connection
  • a creative sustainability partnership program
  • a donation form that defaults to monthly frequency
  • values-oriented statements that remind donors of the mission and purpose of the nonprofit
  • partnership and contribution-specific perks and rewards

Here's how Fly Fishing Collaborative made it work:

FCC's Sustainable Partnership Program makes monthly donors feel like they're a direct part of a sustainable solution to poverty and human trafficking.

Their actionable donation page highlights the direct impact that each donation will have on their sustainability initiatives. Bold gold membership buttons shine on the page and compel users to join the cause.

Members of FCC's monthly giving program are rewarded with exclusive partnership perks like merch, event tickets, and accessories that correspond with the level of their donation.

FCC spotlights members of their monthly donor program and uses video appeals to tell the stories of their unique donors.

If this campaign site didn't lure you in with its stunning multimedia imagery, FCC's mission to end poverty and human trafficking through sustainability is sure to keep you around.

Provide your nonprofit with a predictable revenue stream; build a monthly giving program.

Monthly donor program: Key campaign elements

We’re all for creating a wildly creative monthly gift program. Throw that rule book out the window and unleash your inner artiste! And spell “artist” with an extra “e” while you’re at it!

That being said, there are a few key elements to keep in mind when building your monthly donation program.

1. Recurring giving design: Start with the visuals

We eat with our eyes first, so it makes sense that we donate with them first as well, right? While that analogy might not hold up to closer scrutiny, the fact is that a successful monthly giving program starts with design. You want your program to be recognizable and memorable, bold and impactful.

So, what does that look like? First, keep it consistent to build trust. Ensure it looks like your nonprofit brand—same colors and fonts. You can, of course, design a separate logo, but it should still be recognizable as part of your brand. Next, use strong visuals. We’re talking bold, real-life photos and videos that catch the eye and tell a story.

2. Monthly giving program names: Call it something catchy

An email that states, “Become a recurring donor”? Forgettable. One that exclaims, “Join the Guardians of Greatness and make a difference for injured narwhals across the world”? Uh, we want in! When it comes to your recurring donor program, you want it to feel like a must-join community. That’s why monthly donor program names are a crucial element of your campaign.

Got writer’s block? Here are some monthly giving program name examples. Check them out, and you’ll be a wordsmithing wunderkind in no time.

  • Heart of the Harvest (Second Harvest)
  • The Spring (charity: water)
  • BeatKeepers (Rainey Institute)
  • The Podium (Can Do Multiple Sclerosis)
  • Hummingbird Circle (ProBono Network)
  • Always Loyal (OK Humane Society)
  • Girl Rising’s Wings (Girl Rising)
  • The Pack (Dogs for Better Lives)

3. The appropriate audience: Know your target donors

In a dream world, every donor would become a monthly donor, creating a constant stream of stable revenue. Alas, this is not the case, and converting one-time donors to recurring ones requires some strategy. So, you need to keep your target audience in mind as you plan your recurring giving campaign.

What does that look like in action? Segmentation, but of course! For starters, you want to reach out to major donors first. You already know they’re committed to your cause; now, it’s just a matter of showing them the impact they can make as monthly donors. Then, you want to let any preexisting monthly donors know about your shiny new program. Sure, they’re already giving, but this is an opportunity for them to increase their gift or spread the word. For your remaining donors, you want to individualize the suggested monthly gift amounts. If you ask a donor who’s given $100 once for $150 a month, chances are you’ll never hear from them again. But $10 a month? That sounds pretty doable.

Funraise has a little ace in the hole to help you out here: Our Recurring Upgrade feature gives one-time donors the opportunity to upgrade at the time of their initial donation by automatically suggesting a monthly donation option to one-time donors giving less than $100. Funraise customers can add this feature to any Giving Form with a simple on/off toggle.

4. Promotion: Consider how to promote monthly giving

If a monthly giving campaign drops in an inbox but nobody sees it, does it really exist at all? Deep stuff. But our point is this: If no one knows that you’re starting a monthly giving campaign, no one will sign up, and all your hard work will be for naught. Here are some ways to promote your snazzy new program:

Get a free gift

Here’s a universal truth: We all love swag and we all love feeling included. Take advantage of these very human traits by offering a free gift for anyone who signs up for your monthly giving program. And while we love a tote or a T-shirt, remember that this is a perfect opportunity to think outside the (gift) box.

Share it on social

An oldie but a goodie! Just like some folks prefer a phone call and some a text, you’ll have some donors that check their email once a month while others hit “refresh” every 15 seconds. That means you need to cover your communication bases to promote recurring giving. Share the campaign on all major social media platforms, in your newsletter, and via text and direct mail. And while you’re at it, go ahead and give a quick shout from the rooftops—just in case.

Start a subscription box

If you have a larger donor base, you can ride that subscription box wave all the way to… more donors donating more! And we're not talking about shelling out thousands of dollars on unrelated merch. Instead, send monthly donors a small box or envelope of goodies each month. These could include printed photos of people or animals they’ve helped, handwritten notes, or a book related to your case.

If you’re really forward-thinking, try sending a behind-the-scenes picture via text instead of through the mail!

Make it exclusive

Give monthly donors access to exclusive web content or experiences. For example, One Tail at a Time provided their monthly donors with unique experiences based on their membership level, such as naming a shelter dog, visiting the pets, or even tagging along on a rescue mission.

5. Donation processing software: Ensure a smooth process

Monthly giving used to mean writing a check every 30 days. Today, it only requires a click—but that means having a solid donation processing software is all the more important. Good donation platforms are packed with features that make monthly giving a snap. They include tools to let donors set up recurring donations, accept recurring online donations, add company gift matching, and send automated retention emails to keep that giving going. Funraise even automatically updates donors’ payment methods when their bank issues a new credit card.

6. Proof: Highlight the impact of recurring donations

Finally, you need to show donors that they’re really making a difference by giving regularly. They need to feel the impact in their bones! In addition to sharing numbers and success stories in your regular communications, you can dedicate a page in your annual report to the impact of recurring gifts. Or, you can get creative. What about a meet-and-greet with program recipients? Or a bottle of water that came from a well that their donations funded? The options are endless.

Provide your nonprofit with a predictable revenue stream; build a monthly giving program.

Monthly giving programs for nonprofits: 9 top tips

With your key campaign elements in place, it’s time to turn your attention to what happens behind the scenes when it comes to monthly donation programs. Here are our top tips for building a recurring giving program that keeps on giving.

1. Set internal campaign goals

Monthly gifts sure sound great, but that doesn’t mean you can just start a monthly giving program on the fly! You need a strategy, and that starts with having clear goals for your program. Start with general goals: What do you want to achieve with your monthly giving program? Then, get specific: How will you reach that goal? Whether it’s a set number of new donors, a dollar donation amount, or an improved donor retention rate, make sure your individual definition for monthly giving success is specific and measurable.

2. Make the funding target visible

Once you’ve set your campaign goal, it’s time to share it. After all, a $10 monthly contribution doesn’t sound like a lot, but it can have a big impact over time. Donors need to know that, and that means you need to be transparent when it comes to your fundraising. As with any campaign, keep your sustainers updated on your progress so they feel good about their giving. And if a campaign’s not going so great? They might give a little extra to help get you there.

3. Tell donors what their monthly giving will accomplish

Nonprofit organizations are driven by purpose, and your recurring giving program should be, too. After all, you’re asking your donors to go from one-time gifts to recurring gifts—to make a solid commitment to your work. You need to give them a great reason to do so. Whether $20 a month buys a chicken for a family in need or goes straight to building a new animal shelter, call it out with photos, testimonials, and reports.

4. Reward your recurring donors

Generally speaking, recurring donors are in the monthly giving game because they want to support your cause. But they want to feel appreciated, too, and a great way to show said appreciation is by making your monthly sustainers feel special. This can take the form of success stories, handwritten notes, a phone call, or even a small gift on their one-year giving anniversary (giversary? Nope, doesn’t work.).

5. Build a community

Creating a sense of community—with just a smidge of exclusivity—keeps donors engaged with your cause while incentivizing them to join your giving program. To cultivate that sense of community, give your program a distinct name; it keeps everything tight! Then, keep that group vibe going with a monthly email, access to exclusive content, group events, or a feature on your site.

6. Know your monthly donors’ value

There’s no way around it: Building your recurring giving program takes effort and resources. For that reason, it’s crucial that your whole organization understands why monthly sustainers matter. Here are the facts: the average monthly donor gives $656 annually while a one-time donor gives $128. Thanks for the stats, NP Source!

7. Take the right tone

We’re all in this bog of inflation, COVID, political tensions, and other terrible world events together. So, when you ask people to give more, ask with empathy. Always provide non-financial ways to get involved with your nonprofit organization and express authentic appreciation for the donations they’re already giving.

8. Get board members involved

Your most loyal supporters are the perfect candidates to become monthly givers and kick-start your recurring giving program. Ask your board members to get on board with recurring giving by signing up for monthly donations. You can also ask them to share program benefits with their networks.

9. Make it easy

Nothing makes a donor turn tail and run faster than a convoluted giving experience. If you want those recurring donations, you need to make the process AEAP (as easy as possible). It should be a matter of checking a box on your donation page or clicking a single link in an email to go straight to that donation form. And lest we forget: everything should be mobile-friendly.

Provide your nonprofit with a predictable revenue stream; build a monthly giving program.

5 benefits of monthly giving campaigns

At this point, you might be scanning this here article, wondering, “Are monthly giving campaigns truly worth it?” Friend, we honestly, deeply believe they are! And to prove it, we’re going to wrap things up with a list of all the wondrous things you can expect from a successful monthly gift program.

1. Raise more money

Donors that set up recurring donations give 42% more annually compared to one-time donations. More monthly donors = more funds. Need we say more?

2. Plan for the future

We all know it feels as the holiday season approaches: Will that major donor give $1,000 or $2,000? Will your board come through on their pledges? But with monthly giving, your soul can be at ease. A large part of your fundraising strategy is set for the year ahead thanks to your newfound financial stability, allowing you to set your budget—and your organizational goals—accordingly.

3. Solidify donor relationships

You know how it is when you only talk to a friend once a year: conversations are bursting with must-know information, and you often leave wishing you were better at keeping in touch. The same is true when it comes to donors—but monthly donations give you the perfect opportunity to get closer. Each month, you’ll send out a thank-you and give an update on your wins, creating an easy-breezy back-and-forth.

4. Increase donor retention

Did you know that recurring donors have a higher retention rate than one-time donors? ‘Tis true! Once a donor starts giving each month, they’re much more likely to stick around. According to Network for Good, new donor retention rates average less than 23% while monthly giving programs enjoy retention rates over 80% after one year. Quite a difference!

5. Decrease administrative work

Acquiring new donors is a lot of paperwork (er, pixelwork?). So much data entry, follow-up, and outreach—not to mention how all those unknown variables impact your fundraising strategy. With monthly donors, however, everything’s all set. They give automatically each month, giving you back precious hours.

Monthly giving is a win for your cause, your staff, and your donors. If you’ve already got a recurring giving program in place, now might be the time to take it to the next level. And if you don’t, it’s the perfect time to start. Sure, it takes some groundwork, but in the end, it will all be worth it, when you’re rolling in recurring donors. (There’s probably a totally G-rated fundraising idea there somewhere, right?)

Monthly donation programs: Key takeaways

  • A monthly giving program can boost donor retention, increase revenue, strengthen donor relationships, and provide financial stability.
  • To differentiate your monthly giving program, consider branding it with a unique name and offering exclusive membership perks.
  • Setting goals for your program and promoting it helps you to stay on track and understand what’s working.
  • To build your recurring gift program, target specific donors and ask current monthly donors to increase their gifts.
  • Keep an eye out for expiring credit cards to ensure monthly donors don’t drop off.

Provide your nonprofit with a predictable revenue stream; build a monthly giving program.

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