This is the most amazing little story from Catholic Extension:
Devoted to the Cause
I encourage you to click the link and read the full story about Virginia and Richard Miles. In brief, they are just a regular couple … probably middle-income, likely focused mostly on raising their family and doing what they can to improve the world. And yet, they have donated over $20,000 to support a mission that moved their heart.
How did they do it?
$100 per month. For TWENTY years!
Everyday donors are capable of remarkable generosity. Many other nonprofits would have overlooked a $100 donor, and probably would not have noticed that these monthly donors returned year after year.
But Catholic Extension did not just value them for their transactions — but for their relationship!
This is the heart of real development. It is not just about fundraising; it is about cultivating lifetime supporters and advocates for your mission.
If you lead a nonprofit, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- How easy is it for your annual donors to become monthly donors?
- What do you do differently for your monthly donors in terms of receipts for each gift? If you send them the same generic receipt each month, that’s a great way to tell them that you don’t notice/appreciate their ongoing commitment.
- What do you do regularly (at least annually) to thank them for being a part of your monthly giving program?
- Do you track the lifetime value of a donor’s giving? Do you do anything special to celebrate their “milestone” markers? (i.e. once they have collectively donated more than $1,000 . . . $10,000 . . . $100,000?
- Regardless of their giving, do you find ways to share donors’ stories alongside your clients’ stories? Does your communications program portray them as partners in a shared mission, or as some kind of “other”?