Every Gift Matters | What do major donors and monthly donors have in common?

June 18, 2015

What do major donors and monthly donors have in common?

The answer: each type of donor gives what they can! As long as you let the donor know that every gift matters.

I just finished a book with that same title that was just published: Every Gift Matters, by Carrie Morgridge. It’s an easy read, lots of stories and great examples!

EveryGiftMattersOn the one hand, Carrie talks about making big gifts through her family foundation. But she also mentions how even small gifts like $7 a month or $100 can make a difference to the organizations she became involved with.

I was really excited reading Carrie’s book as it’s something I’ve been ‘preaching’ for a while. If you’ve read my book, seen me present, or if you’ve heard from me before, you know that I hail from the Netherlands. I’ve been here 22 years and have been involved with fundraising for that same number of years, while supporting organizations overseas for more than 14 years.

Well, here’s the thing: 12 monthly gifts of $7 total almost $100!

So, both types of donors make a difference to the organizations they support, as long as they come in on a regular basis.

Carrie also mentions that her foundation typically makes a relatively ‘small investment’ first to see how the organization handles their gift and then they’re willing to invest more.

For some donors, $5 may be worth a lot of money. But they’re willing to invest it because they see that it does make a difference. $5 can be the tipping point between an animal staying alive or dying. It can mean feeding a child or having her starve for another day.

In many countries in Europe and even in Canada, most donors already know they can make a difference with just a small gift.

Most organizations in the US used to think that it was all about attracting the big donors, they were totally focused on them and they were willing to put the resources there.

What that means though is that all these years, the smaller donors (anybody under $100, for some organizations anybody under $250) have been ‘ignored’. Fortunately, with the recent focus on monthly giving, this is changing.

And the good news is, that looking at these smaller donors on an annual basis, you’ve got a bunch of ‘major donors’ on your hand. Let’s look at some statistics:

In Third Space Studio’s Individual Benchmark Project, that surveys organizations with revenues of $2,000,000 and less, we found last year that 4% of their donors are already giving monthly and guess what, they give $625 a year!! That’s pretty close to a major donor. But they do it with $50 a month… The 2014 study should be coming out very soon and I bet that it has gone up even more. And M&R Strategic recently published its annual benchmarks for 2014. Monthly giving online went up 32% and the average monthly gift is $22 right now, so that’s more than $250 a year.

One of the recommendations I always make is whenever it comes to monthly giving is: always annualize the revenue. If you do that, you know that the value of monthly donors is up there. And you typically have a lot more of these smaller donors than big guys.

Monthly giving is such an easy and convenient way for donors to give a ‘lot of money”, but totally within their budget and their personal giving situation. It will help you with your cash flow and it will increase the donor’s retention rate at the same time.

One of my favorite Dutch expressions is: “He who does not appreciate the small, is not worthy of the big. “ In other words, no single gift can ever be too small. As Carrie says in her book: Every gift matters!


Download your free Monthly Giving Starter Kit. Click here.

About Erica Waaasdorp

This blog was written by Erica Waasdorp, President of A Direct Solution and author of the BOOK on starting and growing a monthly giving program: “Monthly Giving. The Sleeping Giant.” In addition, she just finalized the DonorPerfect Monthly Donor Starter Kit, complete with free great downloadable templates and she’s working on her second book, called Monthly Giving Made Easy. EricaW
Erica lives and breathes direct response fundraising. She says she can even be considered a Philanthropyholic. Building partnerships and trying to find the best solution for donors and her clients are what Erica does best. Her multi-lingual skills and multi-cultural experience bring added value to those clients interested in raising money internationally. And her experience in monthly giving has given her an edge for those clients who are ready to embark on this way of giving.

Erica Waasdorp regularly blogs and presents on monthly giving, international fundraising, and fundamentals of fundraising and annual giving. She is also US Ambassador for the International Fundraising Congress (IFC), held every October in the Netherlands. She has most recently spoken at the DMA Nonprofit Federation, the AFP Phoenix, Boston, Washington DC, the Bridge Conference, the New England HealthCare Philanthropy Association and more. You can sign up for her blog or check out her full schedule of presentations and webinars at www.adirectsolution.com.

Erica’s first book: “Monthly giving. The Sleeping Giant” is available as paperbook and e-book. Her second book is scheduled to be published later in 2015. Erica lives with her husband and cat Mientje on Cape Cod. She loves reading, movies, traveling and playing golf.

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