When it comes to developing a monthly giving program, it can be hard to know where to start. But it isn’t actually that difficult if you are willing to be patient and put in a little extra time and effort. In fact, it’s a lot like fishing. Confused? Stick with me for a second.

Go for the small fish

Sometimes, if you try to reel in too big of a fish, your line breaks. Similarly, one mistake nonprofits often make when recruiting monthly donors is assuming that if an individual gives a large gift, they would be more willing to become a recurring donor. The truth is usually the opposite; the donors more inclined to become monthly donors are those who give multiple, smaller gifts throughout the year.

People that give large gifts are not the best prospects for monthly giving, nor should they be, because if you convert them monthly donors you may decrease their overall giving.

Instead, if you ask someone that gives smaller amounts periodically, they are more likely to be willing to donate more regularly through a monthly commitment.

Don’t let them get away

Once you have recurring donors, make sure that their credit card information stays updated. Depending on the system you use for donations, this could be tricky, but it’s worth it. The danger with monthly giving programs is that the process is often overly automated and mechanical. Successful nonprofits make the process automated but personal. Most donors aren’t sneakily changing their credit card in order to get out of their monthly donation – they’re just busy and need a friendly reminder to update their information.

Thank the fish

Native Americans have a tradition of thanking animals for sacrificing their lives to provide nourishment. You too, should thank your donors for their sacrifice, otherwise they are going to feel taken for granted. Have someone call each of your donors individually and thank them for their gift. Consider also having a special “club” for monthly donors, or giving them a small gift annually at Christmas or another special time of the year for your organization.

Hope you find these tips helpful as you build relationships with your monthly donors.