How to Get and Keep Recurring Donors for Your Nonprofit

Samantha Ste Marie
How amazing would it be to have a group of people who simply donate to your cause on repeat without you having to remind or ask them for their donations? It’s automatic. Ummmm, yes please!

We’ve all heard of repeat donors, right? These are the donors who have their donations set up to happen month over month without you, the organization, having to ask. These donors have simply agreed to have a certain amount of money come off of their credit card, or out of their bank account, every single month.

Think of it like a subscription service, which is on the rise like never before. In fact, if we look at just streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, there are actually over 200 options around the world today. And that’s just for watching tv… Queue the jaw drop. Or maybe you’re not surprised at all!

The thing that these companies have with their subscription service is predictability. They have a reliable amount of revenue coming into their businesses every single month. They understand their average turnover rate and work to gain new subscribers while also nurturing the ones that continue to stay with them month over month. If you think about it, turning first-time donors into repeat donors for your nonprofit isn’t that much different.

How amazing would it be to have a group of people who simply donate to your cause on repeat without you having to remind or ask them for their donations? It’s automatic. Ummmm, yes please!

Ok, but why are recurring donors important?

Isn’t it more important to constantly be going out and finding new donors? Shouldn’t that be where your time and energy is spent?

Research has shown that having recurring giving helps reduce the number of lapsed donors. This is because you only have to convert donors once as opposed to soliciting multiple, separate donations from one-time donors.


To pile an even bigger wow-factor onto things, other research has shown that recurring donors give five times more on average than donors who give one time, and the average recurring donor will give for more than two years.

Not only do recurring donors lapse less, but they also donate MORE. This means much less work for you and your team, AND more impact!

Now that you understand why you should be putting time and effort towards getting more recurring donors for your organization…


Here’s how you can take, would be, one-time donors and turn them into recurring donors, PLUS how you can keep them donating to your cause month over month (cough cough… a donor retention strategy).

Get creative with your verbiage

One of the things we can all agree on is that people want to be part of a community. They want to be part of something that is bigger than themselves. They don’t just want to donate and walk away. Donors want to know that their donation means something and that it’s more than just dollars.

It’s important to make sure that you carefully choose verbiage that conveys this message when someone is choosing between a one-time and a recurring donation. Words have power. They evoke a lot of emotion when used strategically.

With that being said, think about some different words that might make your donors feel important and valued. Some examples could be:

  • Join the club

All of these words convey more than just “donate now”. They show your donors that they are joining something BIGGER. I mean, “Be part of the movement” definitely sounds way more impactful than “Become a recurring donor” don’t you think?

Toggle recurring ON

Think about when you go to buy a piece of software and you reach the point where you need to pick your plan. It’s extremely common for the annual option to automatically be selected. This is because companies want you to sign up for a longer term agreement. They want you to stick around for a year, or more.

This concept can, and should be, applied to recurring donors. Instead of having recurring donations as an option they have to look for and select, make it the already selected option. Why should you do this? We’re glad you asked!


Pre-selecting monthly giving on your donation page can increase conversions of monthly donations by up to 35%. Imagine increasing your recurring donor numbers by 35% all because you had the “monthly donation” option pre-selected for them

Tell them what their donation will do

You want to have a big impact. You share that desire with your donors. They also want to have a big impact and they want to know what their donation is actually helping you do every single day, month, year, etc.

You can share this information in a couple of different ways:

1. When they are selecting the amount they are going to donate, you can have the impact listed right with the amount. If they donate $25 per month it means they will help feed two dogs. It’s way more enticing to hand over money when you know two little fur babies will be fed as a result.


2. Send out a monthly newsletter that showcases everything you’ve been able to accomplish with their donation. If you fundraised a certain amount then make sure you explain all the things you’ve purchased or put that money towards. This allows your donors to be proud of their donation and, again, feel like they are part of something bigger.

Communicate regularly

Did you know that 61% of consumers want to see at least one email a week from brands they follow? It might be hard to believe because we get so many spam emails these days. BUT, we bet that there are a couple of select companies who email you and you always open their content.

What this means is that your donors WANT to hear from you. They want to know what your organization is up to, what events you have on the calendar, and success stories due to their donations.

Keeping in touch with your recurring donors is what is going to keep them excited and wanting to donate more to your cause AND maybe even take it beyond just a monetary donation. Maybe they want to start getting involved through volunteering or even their own fundraising. Keep in touch. Keep them excited!

Recurring donors are your bread and butter

It’s easy to constantly think about how you can drum up new donations but it’s just as important to think about how you can create an atmosphere that has donors wanting to donate to your cause over and over again… Or every single month!

If we think about it from a pure business perspective, 65% of a company’s business comes from existing customers. It’s time to start nurturing these people and getting donors to donate again. Givecloud can help you build a loyal donor base. Devoted donors = more donations and more impact

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