Each mission-driven organization is on a journey, whether a day or decade old. This article is part of our “Lessons from Leaders” program, which is designed to offer help from those who’ve faced the same challenges you do now – whether it’s creating an online presence, engaging with communities, fundraising, best practices or other issues. We hope these short essays will help you on your journey – and that someday you’ll offer your own perspectives to help the next generation of mission-driven organizations.
Whether brand new or one with years of experience, most mission-driven organizations share a common imperative: the need to fundraise to support their operations. But what’s the most effective way to fundraise?
Kirollos Barsoum, the Digital Giving Manager at The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), says the key lesson learned is to create a program that prompts supporters to make monthly – as opposed to annual – donations.
This is particularly effective because it creates a reliable monthly infusion of donations as opposed to banking on a single event or annual contributions. That proved particularly true when the pandemic led to the cancellation of in-person events. Additional benefits include that donors tend to stay active for multiple years, and also establish a closer relationship with the organization.
Converting a donor from an annual contribution to a monthly program is straightforward – it simply requires a request. Barsoum suggests asking a donor to make a monthly donation that is 10 percent of a donor’s annual contribution. For example, if a donor contributed $500 annually, ask for $50 a month.
To make a monthly program work, an organization will need to set up an automated payment system to process donations. It also requires a regular cadence of communications with donors. Regular emails enable an organization to stay in close touch with monthly donors.
A great thing about a monthly donor program is it doesn’t preclude an organization from also undertaking an end-of-year fiscal campaign in December, which is a critical time for many mission-driven organizations’ fundraising efforts. Barsoum reports that many monthly donors also are receptive to end-of-year one-time contributions.
In sum, creating a monthly relationship will yield more donations, a closer relationship with supporters, and, ultimately, a more vibrant organization. As NCMEC has demonstrated, a great organization – whether large or small – can be impactful with a solid base of support.
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is a private, non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation whose mission is to help find missing children, reduce child sexual exploitation, and prevent child victimization. NCMEC works with families, victims, private industry, law enforcement, and the public to assist with preventing child abductions, recovering missing children, and providing services to deter and combat child sexual exploitation. To learn more about the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s important work and to become a member of their Heroes’ Circle monthly giving program visit www.MissingKids.org.