Monthly giving programs help nonprofits establish security and better plan out their budgets over time. Any organization either looking to initiate a monthly giving program or improve the one it already has should adopt donation management software.

The Nonprofit Technology Network refers to monthly givers as “sustainers.” This is because their monthly contributions provide a foundation of funding for the charity. They sustain the organization and make it possible for nonprofit boards to accurately balance budgets and plan future events.

So, if a nonprofit doesn’t currently operate with a monthly giving plan, it’s time to think about starting one.

Investing in a monthly giving program

Inviting current and potential donors to be part of a monthly giving program will be much easier if they know what their funds go toward. Classy, a blog that discusses online giving for nonprofits, stated that breaking down gift options into tiers for donors increases transparency. Offering specific donation amounts and then letting constituents know what their contribution will buy for the organization is essential. For example, $15 per month provides a child in need with 20 meals. This simplifies the decision-making process for anyone on the fence.

Create a label or special group name for monthly donors. This lets participants know they are valued and their donations are acknowledged. It also makes them feel like they are part of an exclusive mini-organization. Send out monthly newsletters to this particular group thanking them for their assistance.

Due to the high level of collaboration between departments to create a successful monthly giving program, The Nonprofit Times recommended assigning one point person to the task that will act as the ultimate decision-maker, primary contact and organizer.

Make it as simple as possible for potential monthly givers to find information on the program and sign up. Place links to the monthly gift page on the website’s home page and in email correspondences. Encourage constituents to find out more about it and seamlessly guide them to the signup page. Navigation should always be intuitive.

Once an organization makes a commitment to establish a monthly giving program, it has to invest enough time and energy into it to make it profitable. It requires financial investment, yes, but also a lot of emotional and cerebral investment. It takes time to find out what works best for users and to evaluate whether or not funds are increasing. A monthly giving program is not a short-term solution, it’s a long-term venture.

Enhancing current monthly giving programs

If a nonprofit already has an established monthly giving program, there are ways to increase revenue and turn it into an even more successful venture.

One method is to offer membership to one-time givers. This is a great way to turn a sporadic donor into a sustainer. Just before the contributor confirms his or her online donation submission, ask him or her if becoming a monthly donor is of interest. Do this by suggesting a specific monthly amount; the suggestion should be based on his or her gift activity thus far.

Another method is to ask current sustainers to increase their monthly contributions. This should only be offered to contributors who have given consistently over a long period of time. Again, recommend a specific donation increment to make the decision process simpler. Do not make these constituents reenter their contact or payment information.

Finally, set up trigger email messages to automatically check in on monthly givers’ credit and debit card information. Cards expire or are replaced frequently; find accurate methods of ensuring all payment information is up to date.

Donation management software makes it easier on nonprofits to track their incoming funds and monitor which contributors have given frequently over the years. This enables charities to build and maintain a successful monthly giving program.