Three online strategies to improve a monthly donor sustainer program

Fresh from the 2014 Bridge to Integrated Marketing Conference in Washington D.C., I’d like to share a few digital strategies for improving your organization’s monthly giving program. I co-presented with Jeanne Horne, Senior Manger for Digital Communications at Share Our Strength, and I’ll share a few examples below of techniques Donordigital has implemented for Share Our Strength. Monthly donor upsell lightbox upsell-lightboxThis technique encourages single gift donors to convert their donation from a one-time gift into a monthly gift. Donors are presented with a “pop-up” lightbox while making a donation on the website, with a recommended monthly gift amount that is proportional with their intended one-time gift. If they choose to convert their donation into a monthly gift, their credit card is immediately processed with the initial sustaining gift only; if they prefer to make the one-time gift, their credit card is processed with that gift only. The process is completely secure and does not involve any additional steps for the donor—the next page is simply a thank-you page. Donordigital has tested this lightbox technique to ensure that they do not significantly increase donation form abandonment. We have found that this technique increases the number of monthly gifts collected via a website donation form above simply including a monthly giving checkbox on the form. For Share Our Strength’s current campaign, the lightbox is mobile optimized and also mentions the $100 match offered by the Arby’s Foundation for each new monthly donor. Upgrade request to current sustainers Increase your monthly gift email topIt’s important to ask current monthly donors to upgrade their gifts after they’ve participated as a monthly donor for some time. We recommend asking at least once per year—but waiting at least four months after activation to request an upgraded gift. Of course, prior to this request, you need to ensure you’ve properly stewarded your monthly donors. When requesting an upgrade, it’s best to choose a specific upgrade amount based on the current monthly gift amount. We created a special field in the database to house the requested upgrade amount so that we’re able to use it in donor communications. We also created a special form on the email landing page so that the donor would not need to re-enter their credit card information to upgrade their giving—saving hassle for the donor as well as eliminating the hassle of duplicated monthly gifts for Share Our Strength. Triggered email series to prevent attrition due to credit card issues Please come back Hunger Core triggered emailOne of the most difficult issues with a monthly giving program is involuntary attrition as a result of credit card expiration and re-issuing. Donordigital worked with Share Our Strength to create a triggered email series for monthly donors whose cards were about to expire, whose cards just expired or were not charged because of another issue, and donors whose cards lapsed several months ago. These messages are launched automatically on a rolling basis and direct people to call the donor services line or make a gift online if they prefer. Jeanne and I will present more information about these ideas in August at the DMA New York Nonprofit Conference. If you can’t make it to the conference, you can still view our slides from Play it again, Sam: Monthly giving programs for sustaining donations ‘As Time Goes By.’ Donordigital can help your organization craft a monthly donor strategy, implement that strategy, and/or complete projects like the above and more. We love giving advice and can let you know what we think would help your organization the most. photo-thumbnail-wendyWendy Marinaccio Husman is a Senior Account Executive at Donordigital, the  online fundraising, marketing, and advertising company.