HIGHER THINKING BLOG
Gratitude for Monthly Donors By Dr. Paul Virts
6 Ways to Let Your Monthly Donors Know You Value Them
Do you ever notice it’s usually aggressive, “don’t-make-me-play-by-your-rules” children who usually get most of the attention in many families. While the compliant, rule-following children often recede into the background and get less attention. Parents often make concerted efforts to make sure the compliant children get a fair share of attention and accolades.
What happens among families also tends to happen among donors to ministries like yours. You tend to make a big deal with large gifts made by prominent members of a community. It’s easy to overlook, the much smaller, regular gifts from average folks. One group of donors that too often is overlooked and under-appreciated is donors who make monthly gifts by credit card or electronic funds transfer.
Your ministry may be like many others that have made concerted efforts to invite one-time or periodic donors to become monthly donors. Those who make multiple gifts a year to your ministry tend to give more overall. Also, those regular gifts provide more financial stability for your ministry.
But are you spending as much effort to thank and recognize those who invest in your ministry monthly as you did to recruit them in the first place?
How to Show Your Monthly Donors You Value Them
Here are some ways you can recognize the value of your monthly donors to your ministry:Calculate Donors
(1) Cumulative Giving
Ask your development staff to calculate the cumulative giving of each monthly donor for an entire year and rank-order the list from the largest to the smallest. You may find that some of these monthly givers should be moved out of the “Mass” donor category into a “Mid-level” or “Major” donor category and handled accordingly. Also to understand the value of monthly donors as a group, you might want to ask your staff to calculate what percentage of your total annual or monthly gift income is contributed by monthly givers.
(2) Send them a monthly thank-you
This is the very least you can do to show them you’re appreciative – and don’t forget to include a testimony of a life impacted by the ministry. A simply email will do.
(3) Include an Annual Report with a giving receipt
Some ministries don’t send monthly receipts to these donors, preferring to send one annual receipt. If that’s your practice, make sure you include an annual report to help these donors understand the impact of their gifts.
(4) Set up a special luncheon
Make sure your staff members thank everyone who attends (in one way or another). Let them know what an important they play in the ministry.
(5) Call or text a few each week
Ask your development staff to set up a plan for the president and vice president or director of development to call or text 5 monthly donors each week to thank them for their support. When calling, many times these leaders will get voice-mail recordings and ask them to leave a message including the name of the donor and their monthly giving amount as well as a thank-you message.
(6) Prayer for monthly givers during staff meetings
Divide your monthly donors into 52 groups, one for each week of the year and pray for them during staff meetings. You can enhance this initiative by sending texts or emails to donors ahead of time to ask if they have any prayer request or praise items.
We return to our earlier question:
Are your efforts to thank and otherwise recognize monthly donors matched by your efforts to recruit them in the first place? If not, what can you change to make your recognition initiatives consistent with your recruitment efforts?
Dr. Paul Virts is a senior consultant who helps ministries grow through his research and strategy insight at Dickerson Bakker & Associates. His keen eye for growing audiences and revenue for Christian ministries and nonprofits helps their vision become a reality.
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