5 Tips to Improve Recurring Donations

Jason Nicosia 07/17/2014

1.Ask for it.

Do your donors know that they can make recurring gifts through your campaign or website? If you don’t make a compelling ask in a prominent place on your website or your donation form, it won’t happen.

Here’s what NOT to do: 

This is a screenshot from a well known payment processor, but there is no ask whatsoever for a monthly gift. It’s an option, but there is no story, no emphasis on the importance, and most importantly, no ask. A well placed call to action or ask can greatly increase the number of recurring gifts your nonprofit will receive. 


So many tools out there either don’t offer a recurring gift option, or don’t make it an obvious choice next to the one-time option.

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Once we gave the recurring gift option equal weight on our donation form, the number of donations that recur monthly jumped to 11.7%. Simply by making the option more obvious!

3.Explain the impact.

If you take the time to explain to your donors how a recurring gift will make a bigger impact, they will be more likely to choose that option.

For example, explain on your website that your nonprofit is able to better plan for the future if it can predict cash flow more accurately. Offer suggestions as to things your nonprofit is able to accomplish when you receive a recurring gift.

Check out how Mercy House has a section dedicated to the importance of their monthly giving program.

4. Suggested recurring gift amounts.

If your nonprofit offers suggestions of appropriate monthly amounts, your average recurring gift is likely to be much higher.

Check out this compelling example of how Ronald McDonald house asked its supporters to “Keep the Lights On” with a recurring campaign.

5. Make it easy to cancel or change a recurring donation.

This is an easy one.

Are you more likely to sign up for something that you can cancel at any time, or for something that you're locked into for months or a year?

Be sure to tell your donors how they can easily change or cancel their monthly gift at any time. They’ll be much more likely to get that gift started.


Creating a sustainable recurring gifts program can make life a lot easier for your nonprofit. In order to create a successful program, organizations need to tell compelling stories and use the right tools that are built with the donor experience as a priority. When a nonprofit can predict their cash flow, an organization can better plan for their future.