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We all know why nonprofits want monthly donors — fantastic ROI, high retention rates and higher lifetime value.

So, how do we get them? Specifically, how do we sign more supporters up for an online monthly giving program?

First, the basics. Before engaging in the 6 tactics below, you should organize your monthly giving program:

  • Name it
  • Set up a monthly giving donation page on your website
  • Make sure a monthly giving option is included in your regular donation page

Once you are ready to receive monthly donors, here are 6 proven ways to rev up your online sustainer program:

1. Ask SPECIFICALLY for Monthly Gifts


Monthly donors will not magically fall from the sky onto your monthly giving donation page. You must recruit donors. That means asking via email and your website to join your monthly giving program.

A few tips:

  • In a campaign, designate one email in a larger campaign as a monthly sustainer appeal
  • In a campaign, segment your list, pull low-dollar donors ($5-$90) into a segment, and pitch them to join the monthly sustainer program in the call-to-action
  • Consider using space on your homepage to promote monthly giving

2. Launch a Monthly Donor Campaign in January

What’s the best time to ask a supporter to join your monthly giving program? Right after they give. And chances are you’ll be getting a lot of online donations in December.

Launch a 2-3 email campaign to current donors in January, inviting them to join your monthly giving program. Orgs that have coupled this with a telemarketing sustainer campaign have had even better results.

3. Offer a Premium


A t-shirt, calendar, ornament, tote — save your nice stuff for the more deeply committed donors, like your monthly sustainers (and $100+ donors).

4. Offer a Match

Matches work well to spur giving, including monthly giving. In a monthly sustainer campaign, a match might be for the first month or for an entire year.

5. Set a Goal for # of Monthly Donors


Some orgs like setting a public goal of the number of new sustainers they would like to recruit in a campaign. This goal is usually not a high number – 25, 50, 200. Emails throughout the campaign, and corresponding social media posts, can give campaign updates against the goal.

Be VERY realistic in this goal.

6. Set up a Monthly Appeal Autoresponder

Automatically send a monthly sustainer e-appeal about 2-3 weeks after a single online gift of under $90. If you can, customize the ask amount based on the most recent contribution; i.e. if the single donation was $50, ask for a monthly give of $10 or more. This puts some of your effort on autopilot.

Published On: November 5, 2015|Categories: Fundraising|