Ep 243 | How to Engage with your Monthly Donors at Scale

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Building value into your monthly giving program is so important. It helps to create a deeper connection and build community. This helps your donors stick around longer, and hopefully increase their gifts over time. Managing the stewardship of these donors can be overwhelming. Learn some ways you can automate, personalize, and manage your monthly giving program with ease.

What you'll learn:

→ why over communication doesn't lead to donors leaving.
→ how you can add value without adding more work as your membership grows.
→ get personal with your automations

Want to skip ahead? Here are key takeaways:

[2:56] Don't stress when people stop giving monthly. It happens, but it doesn't mean that you shouldn't communicate. Have a conversation and thank them for what they've done so far and the impact it's made. Create an open opportunity to learn why so you can “fix it”, follow up in the future, or understand how you can do better to retain current and future donors.
[7:03] Monthly newsletters with sneak peeks and VIP access. This is a great perk that gives members a behind the scenes peek at what's coming. Make them feel like a VIP with special impact stories just for them, early access to events or contents, etc.
[7:38] Automate handwritten cards with tools like Handwrytten. By connecting it to your CRM you can trigger handwritten cards automatically when milestones or criteria are met.
[10:17] Build tiers into your program to maximize your time. Phone calls are so important, but can take a lot of time. Create levels of monthly giving to line out when they'll get calls. For example, maybe it's after they've been giving for 3 months.

Resources

Handwrytten

February 2024 lead magnet

Download our Guide

50 Ideas to Add Value to Your Monthly Giving Program

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Full Transcript

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern] So if you've have a monthly giving program, then you know that you have a variety of donors coming in at $5 a month, or maybe they're coming in at $5,000 a month. Wouldn't that be nice. Um, but we have a wide variety of donors that are coming in at a wide variety of levels. And the power of your monthly giving program isn't in the individual, it's in the collective, it's in the community that we bring together to show that amazing impact that as a community, they're all creating together. That's what I love so much about a monthly donor program. Because you know, really, the person that's giving $5 a month, that's a big deal for them the same big deal as it is somebody even $500 a month. So we want to treat them all with the same respect, because without them, we wouldn't be able to do the incredible work that we do. And so today, I'm going to give you some ideas for how you can love on your monthly donors, and scale your program so that whether you have one donor or 100 donors, you can still treat them all well steward them and get those donations to increase and get them to give individual gifts, in addition to the monthly gifts they're already giving. So I'm going to give you some ideas, some that are automated in ways that you can surprise and delight your donors, as well as just some things to think about with how we want to treat our monthly donors because they are our biggest fans and the ones that we can rely on and count on over time.

Before we get to that, though, this month is all about monthly giving, and our freebie this month is incredible. It's 50 ideas that you could put into adding value in your monthly giving campaign 50 Different ideas to kind of spark your imagination and get you excited about how your donors are engaging with you how you're sharing with them, and ways that you can have fun. As an organization alongside these monthly donors, you can grab this freebie at in any of the episodes, the show notes pillow in any of the show notes for all of our February episodes, or at https://thefirstclick.net/resources. I'm so excited to be offering a new freebie every single month in 2024. So make sure you grab this 50 ways and ideas to surprise and delight and have fun and engage with your monthly donors. For now, let's get into the episode.

[Intro] You're listening to the digital marketing therapy podcast. I'm your host, Sami Bedell-Mulhern. Each month we dive deep into a digital marketing or fundraising strategy that you can implement in your organization. Each week, you'll hear from guest experts, nonprofits, and myself on best practices, tips and resources to help you raise more money online and reach your organizational goals.

[Sami Bedell-Mulhern]  Okay, so before we talk through ways that you might want to connect with your donors, one of the things that I've heard from organizations in the past is well, you know, we kind of just like to let them ride, kind of like the you know, good old Netflix or prime or YouTube TV subscription, right? That's price to where they don't really think about it and consider it. And if we bring it up, then they might cancel. You might have felt that before in the past. But here's the thing. We want to build trust, we want to build engagement, we want to build community, we want them to be our loudspeakers, we want them to be referring more people to our monthly donor program. And we can't do that, if we're just ignoring them if we're not giving them the loving attention that they deserve. So instead of worrying about if people leave your program, let's make sure that we're creating raving fans out of those that are and when someone does stop being monthly donor and that is reality that will happen. I'm not going to tell you that by doing this, that won't happen. That is reality. But when those things happen, instead, I want you to flip your mindset. I want you to take those as opportunities for a conversation. So now instead of just being like, oh, Joe's not giving to our organization anymore, we lost a monthly donor that's lost income. What was me, oh my gosh, let's turn it into a conversation and do something like this instead. Hey, Joe, we noticed that you cancelled as a monthly subscriber or as a monthly donor or insert the name of your membership. We appreciate so much what you have done for this organization over the last 18 months that you've been giving to us that has equated to a total of $5,000. And with that $5,000 The impact is insert the impact. We are so grateful for your support. And if there's anything we can do for you in the future, please let us know. Because you're no longer a member of insert your program name. You will no longer be receiving our monthly email dedicated just to our monthly donors. However, we will still be Keeping you in the loop through a general monthly newsletter, we hope that you enjoy staying in touch with the stories, blah, blah, you get the point, right? So it's an opportunity to send them an email just to say thank you for their contribution. You never know what's going to come from that in the future. Maybe they say, Oh, we didn't realize that we were canceling our credit card got stolen, we still want to be here. Or, you know, right now, we just need to take a little bit of a break financially, but we hope to be back in six months. Now you have an opportunity to say, You know what, that's fantastic. We totally understand. Could we follow up with you in six months and let you know what we're up to and see if it's a good time to come back, you would have never had that opportunity otherwise, had you not have that conversation? Or maybe it is, hey, you know, we just haven't been hearing from you. We don't know what your impact is. And so we've decided to give our money to another organization that's telling us about what they're doing and how they're doing it. And we just see bigger impact. Even though they're not going to stick with you, you've learned something super valuable, right? You've learned how people feel about their engagement and their connection to your organization. So now it's easier for you to say, Okay, well, what, what didn't you like? How can we ask them for feedback, even if they're not going to come back, it's going to be really relevant information for you to learn about how you're running your program, how your monthly donors feel about what you're doing, and on and on. It's also important to remember that everybody has different motivations for giving. And one person's opinion should not mean you should change the entire program. But definitely something you want to look into and maybe pull your audience and see how they're feeling about how they're being taken care of as monthly donors. Okay, that is enough of that, I just wanted to make sure we got that objection out of the way. So when it comes to managing our donors, it can be overwhelming to think about how we're going to do all these touch points. But the good news is, is that a lot of these things are just the same amount of work, if you're doing it for one, as if you're doing it for 100. So for example, a monthly email newsletter, giving them early access to things ticket sales, behind the scenes, you know, conversations with composers, artwork from kiddos that they get to see digitally that they wouldn't get to see otherwise, you know, impact stories that aren't being shared anywhere else. Those kinds of things can go a long way and making people feel special. And like they're a VIP. And it's not no more work than if you just were doing it for 5000 people as one person. There's other automations and things that I love. So for example, there's a platform called handwritten. And I'll link that up for you in the show notes. Handwritten uses robots that are holding pens to actually write cards for people. And you can set these up as automations, they sync with a lot of different CRMs. So that you can automatically say, okay, at the seven, seven month mark, once somebody has been giving to us for seven months, they get a handwritten card, the card is already pre written out, it just gets sent, they automatically get the card and you don't have to do anything, right. These types of things that are hyper personalized, allow you to have the free time to do some of the other things that can't be automated. So and we'll get into some more of that in a little bit. So emails, handwritten cards, I also love being triggered on like donor bursaries, same thing, automate that task, you might have to do it as a one on one phone call. It could also just be an email automation that's triggered, hey, you've been giving to us for one year Holy Cow balloons like have just kind of maybe it's maybe it's a fun gift of you and your team going like with balloons or something right? Personalized things that you can do, that are triggered automatically that you don't have to pay attention to write that's just an automation you would set up in your email service provider. So think about things like that, which are easy to do. You can also if you really want to get fancy, use AI video tools, which there are a lot of now to where you can record a standard video. The video might just be Hey, there, we are so honored and grateful to have you as a monthly donor. Thank you so much for your contribution, blah, blah, blah, something about your program, then there's AI tools out there that will replace the there so that all you have to do is maybe once a month you record.

Joe, Sally, Veronica, Sammy, and then it will personalize those videos. So now the donor gets the video that says, hey, Sammy, thank you so much. Right? So you take the time to record the video once and then you only take a matter of minutes every single week or every single month to record the names and then that can automatically go out to those folks as well. Again, a personal connection makes them feel special. Now that's not as free as some of the other things that you're probably already using. But definitely something to consider video is so fun. So personal, allows people to connect. And not a lot of people are doing it. So it's a great way to really connect with your audience. Now, as we think about the difference in levels of donations, a lot of people have tiered programs. So maybe up to $100, they get a certain amount, they get a certain communication style, maybe if it's over $100 a month, and that means it's a handwritten card by a board member, maybe if they're getting $250 a month, that's a phone call from the executive director saying thank you, you have to think about those things in what makes sense for you, your time resources, your financial resources, all of the things, I would love to see phone calls happening regardless. And so maybe it is, you know, at $5 a month, they get a phone call at three or four months, right? If it's $100 a month, they get a call within two months, if it's $500 a month, they get a call right away. Think about what that looks like for you how you can manage it, because it's not just about the dollars mount and the time, but it's making sure those people don't fall off. We want to keep our people giving as much as humanly power as long as humanly possible. So that we can continue to get them to dive deeper into our organization, engage and whatnot. One of the other things that I love that doesn't take a ton of time is if you have online resources that are gated, or online courses, give your monthly donors access, right at a certain maybe it's after three months, they just get a surprise email that just says you know what we so appreciate your gift, we'd love to just give you access to this online course we hope that the tools and the resources inside support, you know, how fun would that be? Okay, now we get back in VIP access. Like that's kind of cool. We want to make them feel special, excited to be a part of our organization, and looking to do more. Plus, the more we give them access to our stuff, and share and surprise and delight and give them all of these things, the more it opens up an opportunity for conversation. The first thing that you share with them might not spark their engagement, their curiosity. But as you start to give them more, they're gonna attach to something right? One person isn't interested in giving financially to support the arts, sports, stem, D, the like all of the things right, they're not going to be passionate, they might like all of the things but you're naturally going to be inclined to really care deeply about one or two different things. So the more that they get to know us dive deeper, something's going to land and we want to be ready for those conversations when they do and so the best that we can do is just really make sure we're giving our monthly donors all of the access all of the information early and making them feel like VIPs. So those are just some ways that you can take your, your monthly donors and make sure that you're connecting with them on a regular basis. There's so many more inside of our guide 50 ideas, in fact, so check that out at https://thefirstclick.net/resources Or in the show notes for this episode. If you want to grab some of the resources that I mentioned, you can do that at https://thefirstclick.net/243 for now, thank you so much for listening and I hope you enjoy our month on monthly giving. I can't wait to see you in the next episodes.

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