‘Tis a Gift to be…Regular
Ah, regular giving – the holy grail of fundraising. Here at Pebblebeach Fundraising, we’ve been working with lots of charities to promote the value of regular giving to their supporters over the years.
Regular giving requires your supporters to invest in you – not just in the time it takes to train for the London Marathon, and not just with a seasonal ‘why not?’ gift, but to really be there for you, month in, month out. That’s why it’s so important to get ‘the ask’ right – the language, format and people you target during a regular giving drive are crucial to its success.
Here are some ways to make your regular giving appeal the best it can be:
Get your forms right
We’ve met sooooo many online and downloadable forms we didn’t like. Too many fields, too many questions, too much stuff that may make your data entry slightly easier but could mean the difference between a submitted form and an annoyed as heck non-donor. It’s imperative that you make the way that people fill in their details as easy and straightforward as possible. Make them available to complete online, rather than print, scan and/or send. Take care of your supporters in this way and they’ll take care of you. You’ll also need to work with your bank to make sure they approve what you’ve designed.
Tell supporters EVERYTHING about you
Does your charity work with people on site? Throughout the UK? Pay for research into your cause? These things are crucial parts of your charity, and if supporters are going to sign up, they deserve to know each and every good thing that you do. Great Ormond Street Hospital does an amazing job describing how important your regular gifts are and how they help them give better care to children through research, new medical equipment and redevelopment.
Give people the real costs
Think about it: does anything actually cost £5.00? Or, when you break down the cost of giving a person a meal, or an hour of care, is the cost actually £6.50? £5 is a nice, easy figure, but it could look like you’re just showing supporters a nice, easy figure that doesn’t actually pertain to anything you do. Show – don’t tell – what their £6.50 can really pay for – just like Acorns, who’ve shown that last year, it cost £850 per day to provide one-to-one respite care for local children. Which leads to our next point…
Tell your stories with a case study
The people you help every day of the year understand why you’re important. Let their stories and experiences with you show supporters how wonderful you are. Check out the Crisis Payroll Giving website to see case studies, great forms and a great cause in action. (If Payroll Giving is an option for you, use it!)
It’s not for everyone
How amazing would it be if everyone on your database decided to give to you monthly? So amazing that it’s completely unbelievable. Unfortunately, not everyone has the capacity to be a regular giver (otherwise, our job would be a lot easier!) but for a certain portion of your supporter base, it might be something they’re happy to graduate into. Our recent appeals have seen teeny tiny mailing files (sub 5,000 supporters) targeting only the very best donors. We use our RFV analysis to pick these guys out…
Already a regular giver? Upgrade!
If you’re going to all the effort of recruiting new regular donors, take some time to talk to your existing regular givers. Show them what you could do with that extra £1 per month and how many more people you could help. Same goes for those who used to give regularly – why did they stop their donations? Would a smaller gift be more manageable? Take the chance to talk to your supporters and find out what works best for them.
Look at the big picture
The number of regular giving sign-ups are decidedly less impressive on paper than, say, the number of responses to a big, splashy cash appeal asking you to help pay for a new building. But it’s the long-term relationship with the donor that counts. This donor is saying that they like you enough, believe in what you do enough, to support you through thick and thin. And, regular giving paves the way for talking about other kinds of support in the future. What could be better than that?
As we like to say, it’s not sexy, but it gets your charity’s work done.
Pebblebeach Fundraising - finalist at the National Fundraising Awards 2016