Recurring Donors: Why you need them and how to get them

Recurring Donors: Why you need them and how to get them

September 21, 2018
Sharanya Venkatesh

Salesforce and NextAfter hosted a webinar about the benefits of Recurring Donors. These donors can be a source of great value to nonprofits over time.

Recurring Donors vs. One-Time Donors

The 2018 Benchmark Report presented by NextAfter revealed interesting differences between the two groups. Recurring Donors are worth 5.4% more than One-Time Donors over their lifetime. In fact, in a single year, Recurring Donors give 42% more than One-Time donors. The longer the measurement period, the greater the gap in donations between them.

Your Recurring Donors are most likely those that donate monthly. Some organizations call them members as regular contributions are like a subscription.

Recurring Donors are more likely to stay engaged with you beyond their first year. This means you can expect to build a long-term relationship with them.

Why You Should Invest in Acquiring and Converting Recurring Donors

LTV is the most important metric in fundraising. Yet, it can be overshadowed by the value of a single donation.

According to NextAfter, LTV = amount given x time they keep giving

Development teams dedicate fewer resources to Recurring Donors. This is in spite of the fact that they generate a higher LTV.  The long-term relationship with a Recurring Donor makes planning and forecasting more predictable. Thus, your investment towards Recurring Donors should match the value generated by them.

More Recurring Donors in your database means greater savings. The longevity of their engagement means that you don’t have to keep spending on acquiring new donors. One-Time Donors usually cost more to convert as you have to do it many times over.

Additionally, studies have shown that nonprofits benefit the most from donations in installments. These are more valuable than upfront payments or waiting to accumulate larger sums.

From the donor’s point of view, it can be beneficial in two ways. Firstly, frequent giving lengthens the satisfaction received from the act. Research has shown that higher value contributions don’t always make for greater satisfaction. Secondly, there has been an overtaking of subscription models such as Netflix, Zipcar, etc.  Consumers are used to regular payments going out in smaller installments that seem less burdensome.

This means you can leverage this mutually beneficial arrangement. You can receive predictable payments in installments and provide greater satisfaction in exchange.

What to do Next

WealthEngine solutions help you find Recurring Donors from your database. We understand a person’s capacity to give, as well as propensity and intent. Our Wealth Intelligence comes from wealth data combined with demographics, lifestyle attributes, and affinities. This means you can see what causes your prospects support and how they support them.

WE Analyze can, in fact, help you examine your current Recurring Donors to identify patterns of traits. You can then create a custom model from these patterns. Further, the model helps you find more members using our Look-Alike tool.  This means your existing Recurring Donors can help you find new ones.

How to Acquire or Convert Prospects into Recurring Donors

A Recurring Donor is likely to stay with you if they remain engaged with your organization. The Benchmark Report has found that 38% of nonprofits have the same strategy for Recurring Donors and One-Time Donors. It pays to have a dedicated strategy and dedicated resources for Recurring Donors. Moreover, it is beneficial to have a separate value proposition for Recurring Donors.

You should pair a strong value proposition with a strong CTA (call-to-action). For instance, research has shown that “donate” is the most effective button to have on your website.  Recurring Donors should be able to understand how their contributions make a greater impact on your cause.

NextAfter says that there are other, universal best practices to consider:

  • Optimize your donation form so that it is short
  • Accept several forms of payment
  • Use multiple channels to communicate your message
  • Ask all new donors to become members. The momentum can push them to continue giving
  • Remind existing donors to sign up for a membership. This works even though it may seem counterintuitive

Customize Communication for Recurring Donors

Messaging should be more focused on cultivation rather than solicitation.

WealthEngine solutions can help you with this. We can help you keep existing donors engaged and convert them in real-time through our API. WealthEngine’s API allows you to feature on the spot messaging when a current donor engages with your channel. What’s more, the API integrates with Salesforce. This means you can cultivate Recurring Donors without added investments in technical infrastructure.

Learn More

Learn more about how you can convert your one-time donors into members. Fill the form on the right and a WealthEngine rep will contact you very soon.

Further Reading

WealthEngine Aware

How to Calculate Donor Lifetime Value to Predict Future Donations

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