Every gift to your church is a blessing, and is of course received with a spirit of joy and gratitude – and each offering is also a connection to someone who believes in your ministries and wants to see your missions succeed. You can build that connection by inspiring your generous supporters – whether they’re giving for the first time or have made multiple individual gifts – to become recurring givers. This can have a tremendous impact: The average recurring donation is $50, but these givers tend to increase their set amount over time. The more you can connect your supporters with a monthly giving option, the more impact your ministries can have for those who depend on you. Here are four ways to strengthen your ministries by inspiring your supporters to make a recurring donation gift: 1. GET THE WORD OUT This is one of the most fundamental aspects of a successful recurring giving program: For friends and supporters to become part of it, you have to let them know it exists. Your website is the most sensible place to start. You can make it a prominent option there with a recurring giving button on your homepage, and with a dedicated page sharing what recurring giving is, how it works, and how it helps strengthen ministries and programs. You can also add a “Make this Gift Recurring” box that people can check as they make their one-time donation gifts. Videos – shared on your website, via social media or before live events you host – can have a dramatic impact in growing your recurring giving program. Studies show that viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to 10% when reading it. Videos will capture people’s attention and help them understand why recurring giving is such a meaningful expression of their generosity. Additionally, you can spread the message by mentioning recurring giving during special events and newsletters, and in welcome packets for new supporters. Sharing real-life stories about how recurring gifts impact lives in the community can inspire your members to make a monthly commitment can show how consistent giving helps your ministries make a difference.2. MAKE YOUR RECURRING PROGRAM STAND OUT A thoughtful, well-planned recurring giving program can give participants a stronger sense of belonging and connection with your ministries. The special website strategies and other promotions mentioned above will all help present recurring giving as a unique and important level of generosity. Another way to make your program stand out is to give it an official name – something tied to your ministry’s name or history, or that conveys the impact of recurring giving (the “Community Care Program” or “Recurring Devotion Project” are two real-world examples). This will help communicate to potential recurring givers that they will be part of something special within the ministries they love. 3. LET RECURRING GIVERS KNOW HOW MUCH YOU APPRECIATE THEMGetting people to sign up for recurring giving is just the first step: It’s a relationship, and your donors need to always feel that they are remembered and valued. Specific gestures of appreciation – including immediate thank-you emails upon enrollment and additional recognition throughout the year – will help them feel confident that they made the right giving decision. A “thank you” during events, dedicated to recurring givers, will make them feel appreciated and let others know the importance of recurring gifts. Other options include annual recognition events or monthly video updates or newsletters for recurring givers – or, provide impact-related materials they can share via social media, so others can become more familiar with your ministries and the importance of recurring donations. You should be thanking all your givers, of course, and those expressions of gratitude are yet another way to encouraging recurring gifts. The emails you send out to online donors can recommend recurring giving as a way to give consistent support. ShelbySystems provides tested email templates for one-time, occasional, and frequent donors that you can use to show your thanks and encourage recurring gifts. 4. CHOOSE THE RIGHT PLATFORM AND PROVIDER FOR RECURRING GIVINGThe recommendations above all depend on your church having an engaging, secure platform for online and recurring gifts. Donors are reluctant when the donation tools are difficult to use, or if there are any doubts about the security of the process. A well-crafted donor experience can mean the difference between growth and stagnation. Questions you should ask about potential eGiving providers include: Are donation pages and other materials branded for your ministries, showing a direct connection between generous gifts and the services you provide?Does the program meet and even exceed rigorous security standards, so your donors’ personal data and your ministries will always be protected? Is the platform part of a fully integrated program that will allow your ministries to handle giving as well as the digital and communications tools (web design, email, live events) outlined above?Does the giving provider offer a range of giving options, including web-based, text-to-give, and kiosks, that let your supporters give when they want, how they want (and that allow you added opportunities to showcase recurring giving as an important and appreciated option)? ShelbySystems answers YES to all of these questions – our full-service network can enhance every aspect of your operations, so you can feel more connected to your supporters, and more effective in planning, budgeting for and executing your ministries and events. That’s a huge reason why there are now 24,000 users who are currently supported by ShelbySystems all over the United States and around the world. Since 1976, Shelby has been a leader in providing software to churches, parishes, denominational headquarters, independent ministries and development organizations – that’s 45 years of experience serving the faithful! Want to find out what ShelbySystems can mean for your recurring giving network? Let’s talk! We can’t wait to show you what a difference we can make for you!