chapter 22 Setting Up and Maintaining Recurring Donor Programs

Inviting donors to give monthly (or at some other regular interval) is the most helpful way for donors who want to make a bigger commitment but can’t pay all at once to do so, and is a great way to build donor loyalty. Harvey McKinnon, author of Hidden Gold and one of the most well-respected fundraisers in Canada, has shown that the lifetime value of a monthly donor can be 600 to 800 percent more than that of donors who give annually. Network for Good, the online fundraising platform that uses the Internet and mobile technology to securely distribute thousands of donations from donors to charities each year, reports that monthly donors give 42 percent more in one year than one-time donors. Recurring donor programs (also called “monthly donor” or “sustaining donor” programs) have been more popular in Canada and Australia than in the United States outside of churches.

With the advent of online donating, recurring donor programs are becoming popular with both donors and organizations because of the ease of setting up and maintaining them—for both the donor and the organization. In addition to how easy it is to set up, there are three other advantages to an organization to build a strong recurring donor program:

  1. They give you a steady cash flow every month. Some organizations have been able to raise most of their ongoing operating costs from recurring monthly donations.
  2. Donations will continue to come until the donor ...

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