Monthly-giving, recurring donations or sustainer, a gifting program that allows supporters to donate automatically on a recurring basis has become integral to the nonprofit industry. You should definitely research starting one and here are few reasons why.

Sustainer programs are cheaper than one time donations. Sustainer donors are often more interested in the effect of their donation rather than once yearly membership donations that may be motivated by a product, membership drive or popularity. Also, on the administrative side, if you are using a CRM there is less paperwork. When a donor’s credit card expires, an automated email can be sent to update the information. That means no more wasted staff hours attempting to update information.

Not only are sustainers cheaper for your organization, their retention rates are higher meaning that over the lifetime of a donor, you’ll raise more money. PBS found that on average, 75% of their stations sustaining donors gave an additional year, versus on 30% of people who gave single donations. In fact, some stations had a retention rate of 90%!

Recurring donors likely to give more simply because their monthly donations are sure to fit within their budgets. Most sustainer gifts will fall somewhere in between $5 and $50, but the average monthly recurring gift is $52, which over a year is $624. Even a small $10 per month sustainer will return $120 per year, likely more than what they would have given in a single donation.

Millennials get a bad rap when it comes to giving, but studies have found that the reality is much different. 52% of millennials are interested in monthly giving. And a World Vision survey revealed that 56% of men ages 18 – 34 had given a charitable gift, compared to 36% of older men. Of course, most millennials aren’t able to donate at the same level as older donors, but a sustainer program can be the best way to engage and move towards building a longer and lasting relationship.

Great for data. Monthly donors are more likely to engage with your organization and that means they will generate a plethora of data. This is also a great opportunity to practice donor segmentation. Understand when and what campaign influenced your donor to join.You’ll also discover the age, location, gender, economic and educational backgrounds, all information that certainly will have an effect on donor communications. Use their demographics, habits, and interests to discover ways to increase fundraising overall.

Developing a sustainer program will move your organization from relying mostly on end-of-year fundraising to having a consistent and reliable stream of income. Lower costs, higher return on investment and higher retention rates enables you to better plan out your yearly administrative and program costs, which in turn allows you to provide consistent employment and services. A well-crafted sustainer program can ease the burden of fundraising for many nonprofit organizations and it is important to seriously consider if it is an option for you.

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