People often ask us, is it important to thank a recurring donor? That is to say a donor who gives monthly through a direct debit. The answer depends on how they gave in the first place.
When the monthly donation goes through offline methods
When a donor is a recurring supporter of your cause through direct mail, telemarketing, or face-to-face, we always recommend sending a thank-you letter immediately. On the other hand, after this first contact, we recommend not to send a thank you letter every month, but to wait for an anniversary date (6 months or 1 year). Sending a paper letter every month may annoy your donor (the letter will also end up in the trash).
In addition, the cost of sending a thank you letter via regular mail is prohibitive. That defeats the goal of having someone join as a recurring donor. This does not mean that you refrain from sending a tax receipt at the end of the year.
When the monthly donation is fully generated online
For fully online monthly donors, your approach will need to be different. First, your CRM should be able to automatically generate a thank you email with the tax receipt attached . We do not recommend sending a letter by post because your donor may not have given their physical address anyway.
There’s a simple fix that doesn’t take a lot of extra time or resources, and it will make all the difference for the monthly donor you’re trying to keep and move up to higher contribution levels.
How to make a better impression
We recommend, for associations whose CRM system allows it, to generate personalized monthly acknowledgments. It is not necessary to create 12 different messages, but can be 3 or 4.
- Send a quality email
If your system allows it, send a monthly email thanking your donors for the direct debit.
- Give thanks in your newsletter
You can mention your monthly donors in your newsletter by thanking them generically (without mentioning their names). Focus on the fact that they are loyal donors to your organization, that they are truly special and that their contribution makes a difference. And, if you receive comments and testimonials from your monthly donors, don’t be afraid to use them. People love to hear from other donors confirm that they have made the right decision to join your monthly giving program.
The idea is quite simply to allow these donors to recognize themselves in this “hidden” thank you, and therefore to feel “special”.
- Send at least 2 special thank you emails
We strongly recommend making at least 2 different thank you emails to your monthly donors during the year. Your monthly donors will probably be very careful with these special thanks. They don’t have to be very long or elaborate, just personal and appreciative. The first email is to initiate the monthly donation, and the second must be sent on an anniversary date with an action button to give more.