Why you Gotta Ask for 39 cents? Fundraising Laughs

Recently I saw this Saturday Night Live sketch about fundraising videos. It made me laugh so hard, I just had to share it with you.

Here it is, below.



What do you think of it?

Just in case you didn’t watch it, the fundraiser asks for 39 cents a day, and other people in the video say that’s too little. They say, “Why not ask for 99 cents?”

Do you think it’s asking for too little to give 39 cents a day?

A person watching this TV ad might think, yeah, it’s a little bit, but probably the ask when they get to the website is 39 cents a day for a whole year. Or even for a month. That adds up to be more like $11 a month, which is the amount for many first time monthly gifts.

Here’s a key principle of monthly giving. It may cost far far more to acquire a monthly donor than they give in the first  6 months.

But that doesn’t matter.

You can upgrade these donors in the next 6, 12, and 18 months to give significantly more amounts to your nonprofit. If the money is automatically coming out of their bank accounts or off of their credit cards, they may not even remember becoming monthly donors unless you follow up and remind them.

Monthly donors are an excellent way to diversify your fundraising income for your nonprofit. Even if several monthly donors drop off, other monthly donors, with your concentrated efforts, will be brought on. Monthly donors stay much longer, on average, than one off donors. How do I know this?

See this diagram from Blackbaud’s 2011 Giving Report.


The first gift is an accident.

The second gift becomes a habit. The sooner you can get that second gift, the better! And if the first gift is a monthly gift, then that second gift becomes a much easier thing to get. It’s a donor no-brainer. Literally. If they gave with their debit or credit card, that second gift is automatic. And the results add up over time. 71 % of those donors stay in the first year, and their overall retention rate is 80%, which is much higher than one-off donors.

As you can see, the research bears this out. Monthly giving just makes sense for your nonprofit.

Why isn’t everyone doing monthly giving?

Well, it takes planning, and a lot of fundraising departments fly by the seat of their pants, and don’t plan.Your campaign has to be appealing for donors. It’s easier to ask for one off gifts, once a year, than to plan a monthly giving campaign. But as you can see from the diagram above, it pays off, big time.

What if monthly donors want to stop giving?

It’s harder for your donor to stop giving. Why? Because of the concept of cognitive dissonance. It creates cognitive dissonance when they think about stopping. They’ve already been a donor for several months. They must like you, because they keep giving to you! It’s a logical feedback loop.

Simply put, it’s easier to keep monthly donors, because they’re convinced they must like you, as they signed up to a consistent giving pattern with your charity. Unless you stop communicating with them, or unless their life situation changes, they’ll most likely keep giving, and give more if you ask at appropriate intervals.

If you are convinced that monthly giving is a good thing, and you want to learn more about getting monthly givers for your nonprofit, check out my course, Fantastic Monthly Giving. This course closes tomorrow, October 21st, so click here to learn more!

monthly giving

If you’d like to see a free sample of this Fantastic Monthly Giving course, you totally can. Here’s the link to get it.

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