The importance of recurring gifts for nonprofits

Recurring gifts should be the goal for nonprofits looking to draw in consistent donations.
Date Published
Sue Guttormson

Nonprofit fundraising is a process that seems to never end. After one campaign has been launched, it’s time to begin preparing for a new one in order to keep donors engaged and interested in continuing to lend their financial support.

However, nonprofits, while trying to bring new contributors into the organization, should also make developing a pipeline for recurring giving a priority as well. Cultivating existing donor bases is a wise strategy, especially during those times when securing new financial support is difficult.

According to Network for Good, those who give on a recurring basis donate 42 percent more money on average than those who give one time only. There can be a wide range of reasons for this; However, keeping giving streams open should be a priority for all 501(c)(3) organizations.

In order to turn one-time givers into consistent contributors, there are a number of best practices that should be followed by nonprofits:

  1. Communication is important: After receiving a financial gift, charitable organizations should always say thank you. However, a separate report from Network for Good suggests that simply doing this once and never sending any follow-up messages is a great way to alienate givers. Staying in constant contact with donors helps build a rapport with them and encourage them to become consistent supporters who give on a regular basis.
  2. Use branded webpages: As technology continues to permeate throughout society, online giving will become popular with those looking to donate to charities. For nonprofits that have developed a giving portal in the Internet for constituents to use, a branded page can be far more effective – as much as 31 percent – than one considered to be generic.
  3. Vary the messaging: Nonprofits looking to keep open lines of communications with donors should provide them with multiple sources of information that will keep them interested. This can be data related to how their contributions are being used or showing pictures of how donations are being used to improve the lives of others. However, sending the same kind of material repeatedly is less than ideal.

With 2015 quickly approaching, it’s important for nonprofits to begin strengthening their strategies for the new year. Having constituents who give on a consistent basis can set an organization up nicely for years to come. Certainly one-time gifts are always acceptable, but turning these individuals into recurring donors should always be the goal. 

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