How to Ramp Up Your Recurring Revenue Program

How to Ramp Up Your Recurring Revenue Program

Idealist Consulting recently partnered with Mike Spear of Classy and Matt Scott of UpRaise Consulting for a webinar on how to ramp up your recurring revenue program. Recurring donations can be a game-changer for nonprofits of all sizes – up to 75% of one-time donors do not give again the following year, but most of this is preventable just by changing “the ask.”

If we could tell nonprofits to do just one thing today, it would be to start small, and make a list of your top supporters. Give those people a call (or have your board members/volunteers call them) and have a conversation. You’ll want to ask whether they want to be more involved, if they would be interested in making recurring gifts, and what they would want in return in terms of accountability or gifts. Start by just gathering some initial data, then make the ask in a few weeks.

Matt Scott has extensive experience with disaster relief organization Team Rubicon, a nonprofit that started out on spreadsheets and with Matt’s help, developed a scalable online fundraising and donor engagement program. This post is excerpted with his permission from his original post on Classy’s blog, which you can read in full here.

Here are seven components critical to managing a successful recurring revenue program.

60/10/40 rule

60% planning, 10% execution and 40% program management. Yes, it does take 110%. Recurring campaigns require active management and are not a “set it and forget it” kind of thing.

Think in numbers

Quantify your supporters’ monthly donation in terms of tangible results. It is important to detail why a recurring donation is important the work you do. For example, be clear that $25/month funds one child’s yearly school tuition. Losing that $25/month could risk that child’s education next year.

Idealist Consulting – Ramp up your recurring revenue program

A targeted campaign

A great way to launch a recurring revenue program is with a targeted, time-based campaign. I suggest limited the campaign to 2 weeks, so your efforts are extremely focused and your message very defined.

Make recurring donors special

Reserving a special designation for your recurring supporters can deepen their level of engagement with your organization. Call them what you will, but make them feel special. For example, at Team Rubicon, monthly donors are enrolled in our Support Squad. The Support Squad received unique communication, “swag,” and access to exclusive events.

Scale engagement

At the very least, all of your donors should receive a personalized thank you. Once you’ve established a definition of “uniquely meaningful” for your organization, it is important for your organization to scale your donor engagement.

It’s a team effort

In order to build a robust recurring revenue program, it is critical to have everyone from your board to your volunteers helping out. That means educating everyone about your program, and tasking him or her with helping manage and grow it. Create a guide for your organization’s staff and volunteers that explains the recurring revenue program’s mission, goals, and tangible impact per level of recurring gift amount.

Know your cost

Take into account how much it costs your organization to acquire one donor, as well as, on average, a donor’s lifetime value. When embarking on a recurring donations campaign, it is important that your organization understands the potential of each contact. Building a recurring revenue program means you want to turn as many onetime donors into recurring ones; making data driven decisions will help you increase monthly recurring revenue by maximizing what’s working best for you.

Watch our webinar to see a case study of how Idealist Consulting, Team Rubicon, and Classy worked together to build a recurring revenue program – and how you can do the same.

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About Idealist Consulting

Idealist Consulting is dedicated to providing nonprofits, private sector businesses, and government with advanced technical solutions that help them run more effectively. Whether it is Salesforce consulting, mobile development, or technical training, we make every effort to provide thoughtful, ethical and approachable support. Idealist Consulting is recognized as one of the original Salesforce implementation partners and has been a top-rated consulting firm on the AppExchange for five years running. Idealist Consulting has implemented over 700 projects and is endorsed by Gartner for high-speed, low-risk Salesforce deployments. For more information visit

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