Does your nonprofit receive gifts automatically without your having to ask? If you do, we say congratulations! This is a fundraising ideal. With automated giving a donor makes one decision to give, and then ensures that giving continues without having to make that decision again. The result can be an annual or monthly transfer from one of their accounts to your nonprofit. Is this the result you want? Before you answer “yes!” let’s look at a few alternatives that can increase the value of “automated gifts.”
Increasing the value of automated gifts. If you have a pool of donors who give automatically you should feel good about what that means in terms of work done over the years to engage donors and encourage their continuous giving. But you don’t want these donors to “drift” – you want to stay in contact with them and as appropriate encourage them to increase their annual gift, or to make a gift to a special campaign or project.
What to do. We recommend you run a report showing those gifts that come each year or month on an unsolicited basis. These can take the form of online giving, bank or brokerage account transfers, or checks and credit card donations. Include those who purchase tickets or a table for your events each year. The commonality is that they are unsolicited. Once you know who these donors are, “assign” each to a board member, volunteer, staff person, or other donor who will stay in touch. People assigned to an automatic donor should decide how they want to stay in touch. This could be with a personal email or phone call, or perhaps an invitation to coffee or lunch once a year. The idea if to have people from within the nonprofit reach out to your automatic donors. Don’t worry if they don’t reach back… most people are too busy to respond to every outreach. The goal is create a personal touch.
Increase the responsiveness of donors by assigning them to someone they know. Ensure they are personally invited to meet up at one of your organization’s events. Other points of contact can include sharing the organization’s case for support or new brochure, discussing upcoming projects and programs, extending an invitation to a small gathering, or asking for a special one-time additional gift for a special project.
Remember, people may want to be more engaged. Not a lot engaged, but perhaps a little… When you assign someone to follow up with your automatic donors you create opportunities to retain their gift at the minimum or increase it if possible. Related to all of this is making sure your communications are not on automatic. Watch those thank you letters and acknowledgements – are you sending out the same thing over and over again? Do you use the same look and feel to your materials year-over-year, so people think it’s the same thing one more time?
Let’s not be lazy when it comes to automated gifts: let these serve as the beginning of a deeper relationship.
[Copyright 2022 – Mel and Pearl Shaw of Saad&Shaw – Comprehensive Fund Development Services. Video and phone conferencing services always available. Let us help you grow your fundraising. Call us at (901) 522-8727. www.saadandshaw.com.]