How to Turn One-Time Gifts into Year-Round Gifts, Lesson

Lesson #5: How to Create a High-Performing Recurring Giving Program

Discover the secret to creating a thriving recurring giving program that grabs attention and cultivates generosity. Download the complete 2020 Recurring Giving Communication Calendar to gain a better understanding of how often to reach out to people each month.

Watch the video and read the lesson below!

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A recurring giving program ignites next-level generosity because it celebrates the impact of consistent gifts. The average recurring donation is $50, but givers tend to increase their set amount over time (especially when they’re involved in a program that inspires spiritual growth through giving).

You’ll often find that recurring givers are more aligned with your ministry’s vision and search for ways to be a part of the bigger picture. A thoughtful program dedicated to recurring givers is the perfect way to root them in the church’s DNA.

Whether you’re starting at square one, or you want to grow participation in 2020, here are 6 essential elements to create a high-performing recurring giving program.

1. Name your recurring giving program

You don’t have to plaster the name of your program all over the church (unless you want!), but you should give it a title. It helps communicate with recurring givers and provides a nice touch that makes people feel part of something special. 

The name can be as general or specific as you want. A couple examples are the Community Care Program or Recurring Devotion Project.

2. Choose a gesture of appreciation

Encourage your people to join the church’s recurring giving program with a small token of gratitude. A gesture of appreciation is the ideal way to achieve this. While these gestures should be fun and designed to thank the donor, they should also be educational and address the impact of their contributions. Here are some ideas:

An annual event

This could be anything from a summer cookout to a formal dinner. Highlight how the recurring donations helped your ministry reach yearly goals and personally thank everyone for their commitment.

A monthly video update or newsletter

Include extended information on how the recurring donations have impacted the church and improved the community.

A handwritten thank you letter

Show appreciation to recurring givers with a personalized, handwritten message. You can send this on their sign-up anniversary or schedule all letters to go out on the same day each year.

Also, provide a gesture of appreciation tailored for first-time recurring givers. One example would be a welcome package that’s filled with material about the church’s mission and a bookmark with a verse about the joy of giving on it.

4. Put one person in charge of the recurring giving program

The saying, “too many chefs in the kitchen spoil the broth” applies to managing recurring giving programs. A high-performing program must be well-organized. But, if too many people try to influence and control the program, it can adversely impact the quality. In the same vein, if no one takes ownership, the program can be underwhelming and grow stale.

The best solution is to put one person in charge. That way, church leaders, staff, and volunteers will know exactly who to speak to if they want to be involved or have ideas. The person heading the program will be in charge of tasks like organizing the communication calendar, growing the program, planning events, and reviewing recurring giving data.

5. Communicate throughout the year

Show recurring givers they’re an integral part of your mission. Thank them often and have a separate plan for communicating with them. Because they’re unique from other donors, you’ll want to ensure you engage with them throughout the year—not just after their first recurring gift. Here’s communication calendar to help guide you.

Next Steps

It takes time to cultivate a high-performing recurring giving program. Be patient as you engage new people to join and continue to be diligent in your efforts. Don’t forget—you can always come back to this course when you need a refresher or want to be inspired!