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Monthly giving is a cornerstone for many charities. As much as they love one-time gifts, driving monthly giving is a goal for all non-profit institutions. Planned and recurring gifts help charities budget more effectively. With monthly gifts, non-profits can more accurately predict their financial picture for a given period of time.

Effective fundraising professionals understand that they must show donors the “how” and “why” of monthly donations. Recurring donations should be accessible to all givers. Although suggested minimums are great, it’s never a bad idea to include an “other” option. Of course, the amount and frequency of donations must, ultimately, be left up to the donor.

Non-profits should be confident in approaching one-time donors about recurring gifts. However, they also should make sure they’re making the right approach. Before asking for monthly gifts, it’s a good idea to look at donors’ history. This includes the amounts and frequency of their giving. This research is a great way to discern which one-time givers might be more likely to say yes to monthly giving opportunities.

All monthly donations should be respected. If retirees or students are making it a point to give five dollars monthly, that should be nurtured and encouraged. For one thing, any support is good. For another, these donations could well develop into something else down the line. It’s important not to push these donors to increase their giving and possibly offend them. Respect is key.

The “why” of monthly donations is something that must be made clear to donors. What is the charity’s mission statement? How clear are its aims? Is communication as direct and effective as it could be? Clear, transparent communications help people feel secure in their giving.

The “why” of a donation can also show donors how their money is used. For example, a charity that benefits homeless people could emphasize how donations directly impact the people they serve. Telling donors how many dinners their ten dollars buy, or how many blankets, gives them a real sense of the impact they’re having. It also helps them visualize the work that charities do.

Encouraging monthly giving is great for both charities and givers. Monthly giving makes planning and funding projections easier for charities. For donors, it helps them feel more connected to causes that matter to them.