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3 Examples of Excellent Nonprofit Monthly Giving Programs



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We found three nonprofit fundraising organizations with successful recurring giving programs to help you establish the right plan for your nonprofit. Consider these examples and how you can use specific techniques to create a solid foundation for monthly revenue.

Monthly donations are on the rise!

Because online buying habits are starting to lean more towards a subscription-based model rather than a one-time lump sum, the revenue-generating focus for nonprofit fundraising programs has shifted.  We don’t plan on this trend going downhill anytime soon, so now is the time to start your monthly giving program.

“Why is tapping into this market so important?” There are many reasons, but here are a few you should really pay attention to:

  1. A monthly giving program is one of the best ways to create consistent, reliable income for your nonprofit.
  2. Monthly giving programs help you diversify your income streams so that your nonprofit can avoid over-dependence on a small number of donors or a grant that might stop being funded.
  3. Monthly donors are loyal. They have a 90% retention rate compared to about 45% for your other donors who are not part of a monthly giving program.
  4. Monthly giving programs are simple to set up, and they make donating easy for your supporters. Donors love the flexibility and convenience of monthly giving programs.

There can be no doubt that starting a monthly giving program, or improving your current monthly giving program, for your nonprofit is important and wise. Here are 3 nonprofits that have successful monthly giving programs:

1) Compassion International

Compassion International is a faith-based, Christian organization dedicated to meeting the needs of impoverished children worldwide. Established in 1952, Compassion International continues to bring in millions each year, generating over $990M in private donations in 2019.

Principles for Success

No Frills, Just Help – What we like about their approach is that donors are, immediately, given the option to sponsor a child without jumping through too many hoops. By sharing each child’s story and ways their donation will help upfront, readers can readily empathize and choose to invest.

Create Urgency – To increase users’ chances of taking action, Compassion has given vital information that tugs at the heartstrings. Phrases like “Urgent: Waiting over 6 months” and “Vulnerable to Exploitation” make giving all the more critical.

“I’m not crying, you’re crying!”

Compassion is doing what it does best—evoking compassion in donors by using engaging images of the children, listing the number of days they have been waiting for help, and by using the phrase, "Choose me." All of these things draw a potential supporter in and help them connect with the nonprofit’s mission.

Offer IncentivesShow your appreciation for your donors right away! As you can see, Compassion gives their donors a free magazine subscription with every donation. This is where you can get creative and really connect with your donors.

Help More Than Just 1 – Compassion gives its donors the ability to sponsor more than one child every month. With a low introductory price, recurring donations are easy to budget, manage, and track.

Upsell - Compassion uses an upsell to create more donations, and it is wildly successful. They offer the chance to easily sponsor a child who shares the donor's birthday - or special day in the donor's life.

And lastly, an essential principle for success: EXCLUSIVITY & SCARCITY!

Donors have 30 minutes to lock down their choice because one child may only have one sponsor. This exclusivity tactic gives donors a direct connection to their contribution, knowing that they, and they alone, are the reason their sponsored child will flourish.

2) HealthWell Foundation

The HealthWell Foundation assists the underinsured in covering medical treatments that could save their life. HealthWell has generated over $480M in private donations in 2019, with only 1% of those donations going to administrative costs.

Principles for Success

Show Better Than Tell – You can increase trust by showing your potential donors how their donation truly makes an impact. HealthWell provides annual public reports detailing the exact specifics of the impact made with private donations.

Simple Interface – Make it EASY for visitors to donate. HealthWell knocks it out of the park with a big, red DONATE button at the top of their website.

simplify your nonprofit's process

Multiple Payment Options – What makes their program so successful is the ability to choose the donation interval. Donors can also choose their own payment denomination or select what’s on-screen, choose how to allocate their donation or even mail/call in their payment.

Multiple Payment Options for your donations

Keep the Conversation Going – Don’t forget: the checkout is just the beginning. Before completing the order, HealthWell asks the donor to sign up for their newsletter. This option is checked by default (but check with your local ordinances concerning this and other privacy/spam-related practices). You can keep your donors informed about their contribution, related news and ask them to donate again right in your newsletter. The more engaged, the more willing they are to continue aiding your organization’s campaigns.

3) Step Up for Students

Step Up for Students has multiple programs that assist Florida parents in acquiring private school funding. Step Up has generated over $610M in private donations in 2019, which is an outstanding mark considering its local placement.

Principles for Success

Aesthetics – Never underestimate a good web design! Focus too much on capturing payment, and users will be left uninspired, likely to never return to your organization. Step Up incorporates patriotic colors, super fun, appropriate graphics for their niche, and prominent, bold branding for clear messaging.

Social Proof – Take a look at the thrifty sales popup that tells readers when someone else has just donated and the amount donated. This Social Proof banner conveys your organization’s popularity (and not for vanity purposes) while encouraging more donors to give. Donors are more likely to participate when they see others doing so.

Automations, Animations, & Triggers – Step Up has MASTERED their engagement in so many ways. We couldn’t talk about this without actually showing you what your organization should be doing, so here’s an animated gif:

When you click on the donate sidebar button, you are greeted with the beautiful smile of a child you’re going to help. You can choose to give one-time or monthly with a pre-designated or a custom amount of your choosing. If you choose monthly, a heart floats onto the page. Just this very tiny, triggered interaction makes a big difference when deciding on monthly giving.

Capture AbandonsDo you have an abandoned cart sequence? When donors back out of the checkout process, is your system prepared to follow up with them? Most companies have enabled abandoned cart sequences at checkout, and that’s easy to do nowadays. But people rarely think to grab the attention of donors before the checkout even begins. Step Up uses an on-screen reminder that appears when a donor doesn’t follow through with their donation.

Let’s Recap

Creating a lucrative monthly donation program can be challenging without suitable systems, tactics, and techniques in place. But it’s worth it when you can finally develop long-term relationships with committed donors who continuously support your organization. A nonprofit runs just like a business. Like any business, to reach more people, you must develop a strategy that converts. By committing to learning how to advance your organization’s technical and marketing skills, you’ll foster more lasting relationships with donors and board members while following through on your promise and mission.  

To recap, be sure to put the following principles to good use:

No Frills, Just Help

Create Urgency

Offer Incentives

Help More Than Just 1


Exclusivity & Scarcity

Show Better Than Tell

Simple Interface

Multiple Payment Options

Keep the Conversation Going


Social Proof

Automations, Animations, & Triggers

Capture Abandons

You can learn more about strategies the NPO Centric has implemented for successful nonprofits to help you improve your own organization’s monthly giving program. Sign up for our periodical newsletter today!

Ready to create and stabilize your nonprofit’s bottom line?

See how your nonprofit campaign or 501(c)(3) organization can leverage online and offline fundraising tools by signing up to our online membership and training program, The Launchpad:


Join the dramatically growing list of thriving organizations offering monthly donation programs to promote value and interaction with their supporters. We'll see you there!

All images and representations used in this article may be subject to the copyright of their respective entities.  Revenue sources from ProPublica.