How to Start a Regular Giving Program Today

Having a regular monthly giving program is a cost-effective way for your organisation to raise money. These programs help to lower administration costs, provide donors with an easy opportunity to support your mission and allow for better planning because you can easily forecast expected revenue. The ability to make smaller, regular gifts allows loyal donors to make larger annual contributions to your organisation than they otherwise could make with single gifts.

Most people are familiar with the regular giving programs of larger charitable organisations and NGOs, but organisations of every size can benefit from such a program. Here are some tips that can help you start your regular giving program today.

  1. A few things to consider when launching your program.  Before asking your supporters to become regular donors, you must first decide what that program will look like.
    • Will you be giving donors the opportunity to choose which day of the month their gift is processed or will you have a standard day for everyone, such as the 15th day or the third Wednesday of each month?
    • Will you be offering the ability to pay by credit card, direct debit or both?
    • Does your bank require any kind of special agreements to be able to process these regular gifts?
    • Will your regular giving program have a special name or logo?
    • Are you able to administer consolidated receipts that can be sent to regular donors at the end of the financial year?
    • Will there be any special communications or events for regular donors?
  2. Make it clear why a monthly gift is important. Just like donors that make a single gift, regular donors need to know how their money will be spent. Ensure that you indicate what their monthly gift is helping you to do. For example, $20 a month will provide clean drinking water for a family of five. Highlight the fact that the reduced administration costs and regular income will help your organisation grow.
  3. Ask your most loyal supporters first. Supporters who make regular gifts to your organisation and have been donating for a number of consecutive years are your most loyal donors and are excellent prospects for a regular giving program. Board members, volunteers and staff members should also be asked to join a new regular giving program. These people already support your mission and most of them will be pleased to have a more convenient way to give and that they will be able to contribute more by making smaller regular gifts.
  4. Make it easy to for supporters to join your program. To ensure that your program grows, make sure you are giving donors every opportunity to join your regular giving program. Ensure that there are sign up forms on your website, in your newsletters and appeals. You may also want to include a sign up form with your receipts for single gift donors.
  5. Recognise regular donors’ ongoing contributions. Signing up for a regular giving program should not mean that your donors are automatically excluded from mailings and communications that other donors receive, but they should be segmented differently. Ensure that you are thanking them for their special, ongoing support and emphasising the importance of their gifts in helping you to achieve your mission. You may also want to develop some special donor reports, certificates or events to help attract new regular donors and to steward and thank active regular donors.
  6. Sign up as the first regular donor at your organisation. After all, each regular giving program has to start with just one donor!