It's a proven fact that no nonprofit organisations can survive without recurring donations. Many nonprofits receive a lot of one-time donations from new donors but fail to convert them to recurring donors. There is no doubt that donor retention is tricky and hence it should be at the top of your list.
It costs more to acquire a new donor than to retain one. When referring to recurring donors this doesn't mean giving on a monthly basis, it refers to an active donor who donates at a regular intervals and not just be one-time givers.
Even if recurring donors make small contributions, they are more valuable than one-time donors. Irrespective of what mission or size of your nonprofit, it's of absolute importance to have loyal recurring donors as it helps create a consistent revenue stream.
So the question here is how nonprofits can turn one-time donors to recurring donors and more importantly how to encourage them to.
Here are 7 proven ways to convert your one-time donors to highly engaged, loyal recurring donors.
1) Make your recurring donors feel special: Set your recurring donors apart from other one-time donors. You can do this in many ways like inviting them to an exclusive event, sharing the latest update with them first, giving them a special designation, joining them to a premium group or mentioning them in your communications, offering exclusive content etc.
2) Ensure your technology is fully functional and up to date: Whether it’s your website donation page or using any online fundraising program, make sure they are easy to use, fast loading, mobile friendly and accepts payments securely.
3) Create urgency: Make use of powerful CTA to create a sense of urgency. Tell them why it is so important to donate now or today rather than later.
4) Showcase impact stories: Show your donors the impact of their donations, describe them the long-term impact and make them feel connected with your cause.
5) Use storytelling: Storytelling is a great way to catch attention, win hearts and minds of supporters. Tell your nonprofit's story to stir up emotions, encourage them to take action and help convince one-time donors to donate again.
6) Offer incentives to one-time donors: Best way to convert your one-time donor to recurring one is by offering some incentives such as promoting them on social media for the contribution, offering cancellation at any time if they join recurring donation programs, provision to change donation amount anytime, list them higher on donors list etc.
7) Engage frequently with your donors: Communicate with donors at regular intervals in-person wherever possible, Keep them updated with all latest progress and events. Ask for their feedback on key initiatives, stay connected with them on social media, feature them in newsletters / press releases, invite them to key events, greet them on special occasions etc.
(See below infographic)