Once you’ve identified what your Monthly Giving Program will support, and named it, it’s time to consider logistics.
Do you have fundraising software or a donation processor? If so, what do you like about it? What frustrates you to no end?
For those without a donation processor, ask your peers from other organizations what software they use. Find out what they like about it, what they would change if they could, and if they think the cost is worth the benefit. SoftwareAdvice.com is a helpful search engine to help you narrow down your options. Take your time when choosing a provider. Once you have software or service, you’re generally locked in. Not because the company locks you in, but because of the effort it requires to set something established.
Consider meeting with your Area Director to discuss:
Critical to a successful program is that it is easy for people to sign up. Consider the following example taken from the YouVersion app. What are some things you notice in this example? How are they making giving easier?
Ensure your call to action is CLEAR and BOLD. Next After found that just by highlighting the donation option in the navigation, organizations increased donations by 190%.
Only ask for the necessary information from a giver. For example: Don’t ask for things like the spouse’s name, birthdays, or company they work for to see if they’ll match. This information IS important but can be gathered as you build the relationship with the Champion, not on the first interaction.
Ask for a phone number, but don’t require it. Requiring a phone number decreased conversions of donations by 43%. Phone numbers allow you to call the champion and thank them on a more personal level.
Provide an array of giving options that represent appropriate monthly giving options for your champions. Give an “other” options for champions to select their own amount.
Allow for EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer). It is inevitable for credit cards to expire, whereas EFT pulls directly from a bank account. Bank accounts tend to be open much longer than a card, so this reduces the risk of a lapsed donation due to a card change.
Lastly, it’s important to evaluate if the system is working. Have an existing monthly giver, or someone outside your organization review your giving process to see if it’s easy. It may be intuitive to you or your team, but having an outsider’s perspective can help you see possible gaps for new champions.
Many champions give by credit card, and sometimes those cards are compromised externally or expire. You’ll need a plan for how to handle these denied or expired charges. They are inevitable. Find out if your system automatically communicates with givers when their cards fail or are canceled. Some systems automate this for you, while others will require you to drive the process. Regardless, make sure you have a process in place and are training your team how to do the updates.
Sometimes the cancelation is intentional, and it would be useful information to understand from the giver why they canceled. Or you may find out that there was something on your end they were unhappy with (which gives you an opportunity to improve).
Or you may find out that they had no idea their card was canceled. In that scenario its usually an easy fix to get set back up but can reveal a deeper reason as to why they didn’t know. They may not be getting your system’s emails!
Sometimes it’s due to a lack of funds. Consider this scenario: a card has expired, and a system tries to run it a few times and nothing goes through, so it cancels the card. While it may be uncomfortable to call a champion in this situation, you can do so with humility and grace. You may find out more about the champion that could provide an opportunity for you to serve them.
List your giving options from small to big. A gift array communicates your organization’s expectation of what donation amounts are valuable. Starting with too high of an amount can tell your lower-level donors that the donation they were intending to give is not valuable. Starting your array with a lower amount helps to show that smaller gifts are not just acceptable – they are valued.
Provide givers with automated monthly receipts for their gifts. Ensure that your receipting follows the legal requirements, but don’t stop there. Use them as an opportunity to go above and beyond. Improve your open rates by triggering your system to address the giver personally, and not say “Dear Friend.” Use the donation confirmation as an opportunity to invite champions to take another step. Consider your P-E-O chart and invite them to take another next-best step. This could be praying for your cause, a suggested article or book to read, or video to watch growing their understanding of the cause, an opportunity to serve with your organization, or even something sharable on social media that says “I stand with ____ organization!”
Work through the following Exploration to help determine who to invite.