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How to maximise regular donations for small charities

If you work for a small charity, you will know that trying to gain committed donors can be hard.

Here we'll look at some solutions to this problem and explore ways of maximising regular donations as a source of income.

Things you'll need

  • A good website
  • Campaign or purpose for fundraising
  • Charity Checkout / Virgin Money Giving account
  • Twitter account
  • Facebook page
  • E-newsletter

Invest in a good website

The first thing you must do is invest in a good website. These days this can be achieved on a very small budget. Online giving is only going to grow, so it is worth the investment. Once you have done this, you can link it up to your Facebook and Twitter accounts (if you have them) and start telling the world about what you do.


Think about regular donations

A monthly donation is likely to continue for a while and is far more managable for your donor. For example while a one-off donation of £500 seems daunting to most people, £20 per month seems reasonable and if it lasts for an average 2.5 years that's £600.

It's really important that you give your supporters a specific reason to give to you on a regular basis. Come up with a 'shopping list' of different amounts and give an indication of what this will pay for. This will help people decide how much they will be prepared to give.


Decide on a payment provider

The next job is to decide on a payment provider. At this point I have to declare that I have a bias, in that I run a social enterprise mentioned below that provides this. However, I will make some fundemental points to help you decide how to choose a payment provider:

1. Check that it has regular giving options. 37% of donations made online are regular

2. Can you build branded pages? A study conducted by Network for Good showed that people give on average 38% more via branded donation pages

3. Do you have to pay fees up-front? If you are a small charity, it is wise to avoid these.

Two options

With this in mind I believe the best two options are Charity Checkout and Virgin Money Giving. Charity Checkout starts from just £5 per month and does not charge a fee on donations, although you do need to cover their transaction costs. However, Virgin Money Giving is £100 + VAT to set-up and charges 2% + their transaction fees.

There are some other differences too, largely in the fact that Virgin Money Giving was designed as a peer-to-peer fundraising platform, whilst Charity Checkout was set-up as a payment provider. This means that Charity Checkout's payment pages can be branded to your specification and are generally more customisable, it is also a bonus that these pages do not have links off to other areas of their website - like Virgin Money Giving's and JustGiving's payment pages do. Some people might also want to look at Paypal, however unlike the other two, Paypal will not take care of your Gift Aid as far as I know.


Think about your ask

One of the most important things when trying to gain regular supporters is to work on your ask.

  • Why should someone give to you?
  • What will you do with the money?  
  • What is your USP? 

Look at how other organisations ask online and think about what works well.


Think about how you'll communicate with your new regular supporters

Communication is key. Firstly, how will you say thank you? Then you'll need to think about Data Protection - how will you store their details. Have they opted to receive additional correspondance from your organisation? If so, how frequently will you contact them? They may be interested in supporting other areas of your work. But don't bombard them, they might get annoyed and stop supporting your work. It is important to regularly thank them and remind them of the difference their gift is making.

Further information

That's all for now. I hope others will be able to contribute more....



Page last edited Jun 01, 2021 History

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