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Upgrading a One Time Donor Into a Monthly Sustainer in 5 Simple Steps- Using Donor Relations!

This blog comes in the middle of a few natural disasters those of us in the states have been facing and dealing with. For those of you that have consistent power, water and are safe and dry in your home, we have so many blessings to count. If you want to know what to do to help those that can’t say the same, Get out and GIVE! I’ve been giving to organizations since Harvey hit and I’ve had a remarkable experience. From food organizations to Universities to relief organizations across the spectrum I’ve had a pretty good experience.

Head and shoulders above the rest stands Team Rubicon, an organization I learned about from the venerable Beth Kanter, and I’m so glad she helped bring them into my life. Team Rubicon is an organization that specializes in disaster recovery and employs and empowers veterans to go into those areas most affected and has a huge impact. The way they demonstrate this to new donors is first class and top rate. Then they capitalize on their donor relations by working to convert donors who made a one time gift to monthly sustaining donors. It may seem quick for many of us and it did to me at first, but when you think about it, this organization specializes in getting help fast to areas that need it most. Even though the conversion for me was less than a month, I didn’t feel rushed. Why? Because Donor Relations.

Step 1: A fabulous receipt. “Your gift empowers our veteran volunteers, by providing them with a sense of purpose, community, and identity through continued services to communities affected by disasters.

"Thank you very much for your contribution and for being such a valuable part of the team.” SWOON

Step 2: Impact in action - WOW - this was sent to me via text only a day after I donated-

Step 3: Then a thank you email that was amazing, and honest and relatable- I felt like I really got to know Lissie.

Step 4: Two days later another impact report text- BAM!

Step 5: Then Jon Connors showed up in my inbox- and he told me what Rubicon had done for him. And he was the Clay Hunt fellow- I learned about Clay hunt four years ago thanks to a story on 60 minutes about his tragic death. And I was moved. I was moved because I realized that not only was Jon Connors giving back in such a meaningful way but that Jon’s life was so changed as well, I knew I had to do more. And there it was, right there- one click and my opportunity to help bridge the gap for Rubicon was staring me in the face. Usually I’m not a fan of impact combines with an ask but I have to tell you after two weeks and four examples of impact, I felt I was ready and I felt that Rubicon needed my help even after the news cameras were gone. I gave, I joined their monthly giving program.

I’m so proud of Team Rubicon, they’re my new poster child of doing it right. It took them five profound steps, five examples of doing it right and putting the donor at the center of your efforts and it produced. This is an example we can all model. Not only in their communications with their style of frank honest text that allows the donor to be special partners and part of the “team”. No one at Team Rubicon is giving us big words and sweeping generalizations from their ivory tower. Instead, they got right down to work, just like their team members do.

Here are my tips for conversion:

  • Have a plan

  • Go strong with impact

  • Don’t ask for more until you’ve delivered on the first gift

  • Put the donor at the center

  • Make your communications sound real

  • Name your monthly group

  • Set a targeted dollar amount

WAIT - it just got better! Look what I received today:

BRILLIANT!!! What do you think? How do you convert one time donors to monthly supporters? Was this helpful for you to experience? How can we improve this process for our donors?




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