Nonstop Nonprofit NOW · 06.10.2020

June 10, 2020
3 minutes
Nonstop Nonprofit NOW with Justin Wheeler · 06.10.2020
nJustin is Funraise's CEO, a co-founder, and a bad-ass, experienced nonprofit fundraiser. Like a true fundraiser-turned-founder, he breaks down the concepts behind Funraise's mission everywhere he can make nonprofits' voices heard.

It's here! Introducing my new show, Nonstop Nonprofit NOW.

Each week I'll dive into top-of-mind topics for nonprofit professionals and share insights around all things interesting to the community.

This week I dive into how three different nonprofits have built a multi-million dollar monthly donor program.

Here are the highlights:
  • Innocence Project nailed it with a dynamite name for its monthly donor program calling it "Innocence Advocates."
  • charity: water never lets us down, especially with the donor journey they've created for their monthly community.
  • One Tail at a Time takes it to the next level with their membership tiers, inviting their most committed monthly donors to take part in their rescue missions.

And finally, yours truly bringing you a NERD ALERT on why fewer donors, giving smaller AVG gifts monthly is better than more donors giving larger AVG gifts once. 🤓

Enjoy the show!

Can't listen to the video? Scroll down to read the transcript.

Hey, everyone, welcome to Nonstop Nonprofit Now! A weekly show that’s going to take a deep dive into all things related to nonprofit organizations and fundraising. And I’m excited this week to cover an important topic that I’m passionate about around building monthly donor programs. We’re going to take a look at organizations that have built multi-million dollar recurring donor programs, look at the tactics they’ve used to do it and at what it looks like, from an online presence to achieve what they have achieved.

So we’re going to dive into some of these examples right now. The first stop is an amazing organization called Innocence Project. They are on the frontlines of prison reform and they use data to free innocent individuals that have been sent to prison. And their call to action is to become an innocence advocate. So this is an individual that’s going to give whatever amount monthly. They start at $10 and then they highlight who their advocates are. The individuals get to share their stories, why they’re giving to Innocence Project and why the cause is so important. So this is just a very easy example of tying back the name of their monthly program into the actual work that they’re doing. So as an innocence advocate, I’m fighting for the innocence of the wrongly imprisoned. So that’s very strong and they have built up an amazing program where they have a ton of support from a monthly perspective.

The next organization is one that we hear about all the time called charity: water. They have a program called The Spring. And what they do really well is they create a journey for that monthly donor so that they can expect. And so every time my donation processes, I get an email. Instead of that boring donation receipt. I’m getting an impact receipt. I’m learning about what my monthly donation accomplished that month. And then secondly, they’ve built out what they called The Journey. And this is accessible only to monthly donors. It’s exclusive content from around the world where they travel with their team to document the impact in all the different countries where they are drilling these wells. So it’s an amazing episode of just real-time impact and they’re out currently on their 4th season. So they’ve been doing this for several years. And then lastly, they’re proving when a project gets built and funded, they show that project's G.P.S. coordinates and you’re going to see water come up from the ground. It’s amazing transparency that they put around their efforts as it relates to the projects that donors are funding. So as you’re building on your own recurring donor program, do something like this where you’re providing monthly updates, you’re creating exclusive content, and then you’re proving where the dollars are going and how the impact is being made.

So for the last example, I’d like to highlight an organization called One Tail at a Time. And they’ve done something interesting with membership levels. So starting at $10 a month, up to $100 a month, there are different benefits that you get as a member at these different levels. And what I love is all of the things that they give away are tied directly into their mission. So it’s bringing the donor more into the impact of the organization because the things they are getting in return remind the donor of the amazing impact of this organization. Even to the point where if you’re giving it the highest level, you can go on one of their rescue missions with the actual organization. So they’re now bringing their monthly donors into programing, which is an absolutely brilliant idea. And will help organizations or help donors definitely stick around for the long haul.

These are some really great examples across all different types of nonprofit organizations, some of which you’ve heard about. I’d like to spend just a minute or so nerding out around why you should invest in monthly giving. Your fundraising team should be developing. If it doesn’t already have a monthly donor program, it will have a direct correlation to your overall impact as an organization. So let’s look at some data. Let’s say that your main acquisition channels your website and you get 5,000 visitors a month. You’re going to have a lower conversion rate on monthly because it’s a higher friction. Someone has to give on a monthly basis, compared to one time. So let’s a 2%. And that if you play out the numbers. That means 50 donors for recurring and 100 for one time. The average and these are national averages, the average for a recurring donor is $52. The average for a time donor is $128. So 50 donors giving an average of $52 x 12 = $31,000. One hundred donors giving one-time gifts with the average gift size of $128, giving $12,000. So already. Out of the gate, less donors giving more frequently is a much better strategy. Then we add in another layer, retention. 80% of recurring donors will renew each year vs. one time donors at a 38%. Very bad. If you play this out over the course of three years, you’re looking at $76,000 total, from your recurring donor community and $19,500 from your one time. So the numbers speak for themselves. If you want to build a sustainable fundraising program and have highly engaged donors, monthly giving is where you need to be.

Thanks for tuning in to this week’s episode of Nonstop Nonprofit Now! Until next time, stay safe and peace out!

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