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6 Steps to Start a Monthly Giving Program

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if your nonprofit had a reliable donation source that just automatically rolled in every month? Like a little gift that just keeps giving and giving and giving!

Now think about multiplying that little gift by a dozen, a hundred, a thousand donations… all without adding more work to your plate.

That’s the power of setting up a strong monthly giving program for your nonprofit. While you and your staff are handling the day-to-day tasks to further your cause, a portion of your donations are coming in on autopilot, providing you with much needed funds and peace of mind.

With all that you have going on running a nonprofit, it’s easy to put off starting anything new. However, launching a monthly giving program isn’t something you want to skip. Once in place, a monthly giving program can provide financial stability for your organization, lead to deeply invested donors, and raise more money than single annual donations. In fact, the average recurring donor will give 42% more in one year than those who give one-time gifts. Think about it this way… if the average recurring donation is $50 per month, that adds up to $600 annually!

Create a monthly giving program

Monthly giving programs are like setting up an ATM for your nonprofit, but how do you get started? Here’s how you can lay the groundwork, make your program stand out, and prepare it for launch.


First, get prepared and organized. As with any fundraising campaign, set a clear and specific goal. Make sure that it ties to your larger fundraising goals so you can better connect with your supporters, implement tactics, and evaluate your progress. Next, it’s time to map out your recurring donation framework and workflow. Think through each step of the process and donor journey. How will donors sign up for monthly donations? What systems will you use? How will you track this information? When will you thank your donors? Then it’s imperative to review your current and prospective donor data. For a monthly giving program, it’s best to target past donors and those who have donated at least once—ideally two or more times. They will be your strongest supporters and the most likely to sign up for recurring gifts.


While a generic monthly donation form may get the message across, integrating your brand and personalizing your program will make a lasting, genuine impression on your donors and prospects. Give your program a name and create a moniker for your recurring donors (e.g., Join our cause by becoming a Miracle Partner.). Apply branded colors, create a logo, and make templates for emails, direct mail, and thank you notes to keep everything consistent and memorable. And be sure to personalize your donation form and any touchpoints whenever possible.


With all the groundwork laid, it’s time to set up and launch your monthly giving program. Start by updating your donation form to include monthly and recurring donations. Make sure all your messaging is consistent and crystal clear so donors understand exactly what they’re signing up for. And don’t forget to add share buttons to make it as easy as possible for supporters to champion your cause and invite others to donate.

Promote your monthly giving program

Once you’re ready to accept donations, it’s time to shout from the rooftops to get supporters to participate in your monthly giving program. While the share buttons embedded in your donation form will encourage donors who have already committed to spread the word, take a step back and think through how you’re going to get donors to your page in the first place.


Create a welcome email to invite donors to become part of an exclusive group of monthly supporters. As with most campaigns, you’ll want to create a targeted email list. Start by revisiting that segmented donor list we talked about earlier and cater your email directly to those supporters. Tap into their interests and share how much they mean to your organization.


Every donation is meaningful to your nonprofit, so show your donors how you’re putting their hard-earned dollars to great use. Create a bulleted list or a simple graphic that shows what 3-5 specific levels of giving mean for your organization. For example, $10 = 10 meals, $25 = 5 water filters, $40 = educational materials, etc. Donors are more likely to donate—and donate at higher levels—if they see how their donations are being utilized.


Acknowledging and thanking your supporters isn’t just the polite thing to do… it’s one of the best ways to drum up additional donations. Whether your thank you note is sent via email or mail, be sure to include additional information and calls-to-action, such as a link to make an additional donation, easy-to-share messaging to ask a friend to donate, or an invitation to follow your organization on social media.

Monthly giving programs help support your organization in myriad ways. After the initial setup and promotion, you’ll quickly be on your way to capturing more fundraising dollars to support your cause.

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