Regular Giving: “How do you turn one-off ‘covid-19 appeal’ donors into regular givers?”

Many charities have run fundraising appeals in response to the pandemic. These appeals have helped to offset some of the lost income caused by the pandemic. However, with turbulent economic times ahead, is it possible to develop a regular giving strategy to encourage supporters to provide a stable source of income? We were asked the following question:

How do you turn one-off ‘covid-19 appeal’ donors into regular givers?

With the road to economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic looking very long, having a stable source of income from regular donations would be really helpful to many charities. There are challenges in encouraging individuals to make financial commitments at the moment, but it is possible!

Regular Giving – The Challenge

Economic uncertainty is making people more reluctant to partake in regular giving. Many individuals are happy to make a one-off donation if they have the funds available now. However, with news of job losses breaking every day, they may not feel secure in making a longer term commitment.

Even those that are relatively secure in their own roles, or even retired, may be more cautious as adult children or close friends could enter financial difficulties.

Most regular donations are set up via Direct Debit. If someone commits to a regular donation via Direct Debit, they know that cancelling generally involves an awkward call with the charity. Either, the donor calls to explain that they have to cancel, or the charity calls them when their donation fails. This level of commitment is quite daunting for many people.

Convince Your Supporters

Convincing your supporters to donate to a one off campaign is one thing, but to encourage them into regular giving is another.

According to recent interviews with donors, they are currently judging any request for help according to the following factors:

  • Level of need
  • How important the work is
  • Whether they already donate to a similar cause

Therefore, when asking your covid-19 appeal donors to make a regular donation, it is worth making sure that you are addressing these points.

Reduce the Commitment

Making the regular donation into less of a commitment will make donors more likely to sign up. Recent research has suggested that donors are increasingly likely to consider short-term regular donations for the duration of the pandemic. Many would even be prepared to make larger donations during this period.

Alternatively, when asking individuals to make a regular donation, you could explain to them how easy it would be for them to take a payment holiday. If a supporter is aware that they can easily take a payment holiday if their financial situation deteriorates, and this won’t lead to an awkward conversation with the charity, they are likely to be more at ease with the idea of starting a regular donation. To take this further, you could offer to send supporters a reminder when their donation is going to be taken, so that they have a reminder in case their financial position worsens.

At Donr, we’ve found that regular giving via text eases many of the concerns that supporters have about regular donations. The supporter receives a monthly reminder of their donation and can opt out via text at any time. This provides a level of comfort which encourages people to make a regular donation even when they’re not certain about their financial position – in practice, most are able to continue to make their donation for some time.

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