Recurring Gifts: Are You Missing Out on Easy Money?

Christy Lowell 07.06.09

When you get a second, take a look at your recurring online donations program and see how many donations are coming through that program. Oh wait…you don’t have an online recurring giving program?  Then you are missing out on some easy income for your organization.

I tend to get on my soapbox about the ways nonprofits are missing out on easy opportunities to gain some guaranteed revenue for the organization and this one tops the list. Also called “preauthorized” or “sustainable” gifts, online recurring gifts are pledges for which the donor has authorized your organization to automatically collect a specific amount each month (or other cycle).



 So, why should you implement a recurring giving program? According to Harvey McKinnon, author of Hidden Gold, there are many benefits to developing a monthly giving program:

  1. Dramatically increase your annual income
  2. Build a better relationship with your donors
  3. Donors will keep giving longer  
  4. Monthly giving revenue is predictable
  5. Lower your fundraising costs
  6. Income will grow over time
  7. Monthly giving is convenient

According to research sponsored by MasterCard International, only 3% of donors report using credit cards to make automatic donations, but 28% say they would probably or definitely consider making recurring donations if it were offered to them by their selected charitable organization.


So, how do you go about putting together a monthly giving program? Hopefully, you already have online donations forms on your website and you can enable the recurring giving option on those forms. 





You also want to ensure that your backend database is equipped to handle these transactions – also known as Electronic Funds Transfer or EFT, which will create a batch for you to process these transactions each week/month/year/etc…


You can spread the word about the program by accentuating it on your website and ensure it’s easy for people to click to, put the URL on all direct mail, educate people at your events, etc…


The bottom line is that this is one of the best low cost/high impact actions an organization can take in this day and age to reach their fundraising goals. Why aren’t you doing it?


Related information on NetWits Think Tank: 

Do you have any stories you’d like to share about starting a recurring gifts program? Do you have any insight for those who’d like to start their own program? Leave a comment below!