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4 Thank You Musts for Monthly Donors

Editor’s note:  Our thoughts are with those affected by the massive earthquake and aftershocks in Nepal. You can help. To donate to the relief efforts, visit our disaster response page.

We’re in the last few days of our Recurring Giving Challengecheck out which campaigns are sitting atop our leaderboard and are in the running for their share of $20K in challenge rewards!

You’ve put a lot of work into recruiting recurring gifts from your supporters. Once you have monthly donors on board, you can just coast, right?

WRONG.

Even though they have set up and committed to a recurring gift, you still need to cultivate and build relationships with these donors. While thanking monthly donors isn’t much different than thanking donors in general, there is one big difference:  you have a lot more riding on monthly donors, as their lifetime value is likely to be much greater than your average one-time donor.

Use your thank you letter as an opportunity to show gratitude, but also to lay the groundwork for a long-term relationship. Donor gratitude is so important we have an entire guide devoted just to this very topic. Here are four musts for your thank yous to monthly donors:

1. Be prompt.
In addition to an immediate, personalized confirmation that their gift was processed successfully, you should thank your sustainers within a few days of setting up their recurring donation. Have a plan in place to make this happen quickly and make it a priority. Your goal is to keep that warm fuzzy feeling going as soon as possible after the gift was initiated. You may wish to send an email, a written note, or follow up with a phone call. It wouldn’t hurt to do all three over the course of those first few months once someone joins your monthly giving program.

2. Be personal.
In addition to addressing the donor by name, sign your thank you letters from a real person. Promise me that you won’t send thank yous that start out with “dear friend” or “dear supporter.” Not only is it boring and mechanical, it sends a signal of “we can’t be bothered.” Also, get creative with who signs your electronic and mailed letters–a board member, a volunteer, or a beneficiary can add significance to your acknowledgement. Make sure there is a real live human behind your stewardship efforts.

Nonprofit Spotlight: True Impact Ministries

Network for Good works with so many amazing nonprofits and we want to introduce you to them and the great work they are doing! As part of our Recurring Giving Challenge we’re highlighting members of our leaderboard who are producing compelling, creative campaigns to recruit recurring donors and build a sustainable fundraising model for their organization. Today I want you to meet True Impact Ministries, a customer using recurring giving to sponsor children and the current holder of 4th place on our leaderboard.

Meet True Impact Ministries  True Impact Ministries

Like so many nonprofit organizations, True Impact Ministries has changed and molded its mission to meet the needs of the communities it serves. Ten years ago, when True Impact’s founders Andy and Susie Stewart first began their work, they brought a small team of volunteers to Uganda to help build a modest school house. It was the beginning of an ever-expanding mission that now includes orphan homes, water structures, and medical care.

How Giving is Growing Online: The Latest from the Digital Giving Index

Where is online giving going? How do you capture more digital dollars for your cause?

To make a smart plan for your digital giving spend and online fundraising strategy, you need to understand how donors are giving online. Since 2010, Network for Good has published the Digital Giving Index which looks at online giving trends across the Network for Good platform, including both branded and generic donation pages, social fundraising sites, portal giving, and employee giving.

The Network for Good’s Digital Giving Index data represents $233 million in giving for 2014 representing donations to 45,000 charities. While online donations still represent less than 10% of all charitable giving, the growth of online giving continues to outpace the rate of growth for overall giving. In 2014, the donations on Network for Good’s online giving platform increased 23% over 2013.

Digital Giving Index 2014

Here are a few key takeaways from our giving data:

Create Great Visuals: 10 Tips and Tools for Nonprofits

More and more nonprofits are using visuals to tell their story, illustrate impact, and create a case for giving. But creating visuals can sometimes be costly, time consuming, and seemingly impossible without advanced software. At Network for Good, we see clients using visuals in amazing ways to share their stories, engage donors, and raise more money in ways that are effective, easy, and—guess what?—FREE! We've compiled a top 10 list of tools and techniques to help you incorporate more visuals into your organization's work.

What Is Social Fundraising Anyway?

Social fundraising is empowering your supporter base to fundraise on your behalf. Social fundraising is also known as peer-to-peer fundraising, P2P, or personal fundraising.

Think beyond the walkathon

When you think of social fundraising, you probably think of a walkathon, dance marathon, or another event that social fundraisers will attend. Although this is the best-known type of social fundraising, you don’t have to have an event to justify launching a social fundraising campaign.

Doubling Down on Monthly Giving

How much do we believe in monthly giving here at Network for Good?

A whole lot.

Today I’m super jazzed to announce that we’ve DOUBLED the amount of Challenge Rewards we’re giving away as part of our Recurring Giving Challenge. Thanks to a generous grant from the Network for Good Generosity Fund, we’re now awarding a total of $20,000 to Network for Good clients with the most successful, creative, and compelling monthly giving campaigns.

Yep, that’s right: twenty large!

How awesome is that?

The challenge ends on April 30, 2015, but there’s still time to join in to improve your monthly giving programs, get more recurring donors, and grab your share of the Challenge Rewards. First, sign up for the Challenge. Then, if you’re not a Network for Good client, I encourage you to reach out to us today and find out how easy it is to get started with more effective online fundraising software. We even have a free demo tomorrow afternoon so you can get all your questions answered.

Need some more inspiration? Catch up with other posts in our Recurring Giving Challenge Series:

Nonprofit Spotlight: Firecracker Foundation

Network for Good works with so many amazing nonprofits and we want to introduce you to them and the great work they are doing! Because May is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, I want you to meet one of my favorite customers who is doing amazing work helping child sexual abuse survivors heal their whole being.

Meet Firecracker Foundation  Firecracker Foundation

On a day-to-day basis, The Firecracker Foundation works with survivors of childhood sexual trauma through long-term strategies of therapy, arts enrichment, and yoga practice. Their work is focused on healing the whole individual.

On a larger scale, however, The Firecracker Foundation is about community. Tashmica Torok, the founder of Firecracker, has built her organization around the historical idea of community members being charged with keeping the communal fire burning. From their mission to their fundraising strategy, this ethos of the many coming together for a common goal is extremely evident.

Nonprofit Link Round Up

I hope you celebrated National Volunteer Week. Did you do something to make your volunteers feel special? I got a sweet card and gift in the mail from an organization I've been volunteering with for many years now. It really did make me feel appreciated. Even if you just send out a personal email to those who volunteer with your organization, I promise your volunteers will never forget it!

Now, let's get to those links!

The Key to More Effective Donor Communication

To truly connect with donors and inspire them to become a part of the work that you do, you need to speak to them. Really speak to them. This means getting extremely clear on the message you’re trying to send, and making it incredibly relevant to why they care about your mission in the first place.

This is why the key to more effective communication is specificity

When your emails and other communications are specific, they can be more relevant, interesting, and authentic. Your job as a marketer or fundraiser is to definitively answer the question, “Why me?”  You can’t do that with broad and generic messages. Generic messages are not just typically boring; studies have shown that vague statements can introduce skepticism among readers. Definitely not the feeling you want to evoke!

How do you make your message more specific, and in turn, more relevant? Think about the unique stories your donors have when they relate to your cause. Group donors into meaningful categories based on:

Make the Most of Mother’s Day

There’s no better way for your organization to get the attention of your supporters and prospects (and the media) than by piggybacking on what’s already top of mind. Your people are already thinking about this stuff, making them far more likely to connect with your campaign than at other times.

That’s “right thing, right now” marketing, and I’ve seen some fantastic Mother’s Day models from nonprofits like yours in recent years.

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