Improving Member and Recurring Donor Engagement: 6 Ideas

A membership or recurring giving program can be a valuable asset for your nonprofit, but only if members are engaged and excited to support your work!

4 months ago   •   4 min read

By Jacob Spencer

For membership organizations like associations, the importance of recurring donor engagement is obvious. After all, their bottom lines typically depend on the support of member dues.

But for nonprofits, things aren’t always as clear. With so much to juggle, building successful membership programs and recurring gift programs can accidentally get swept to the side. If you want your organization and its programs to keep growing and thriving, it is essential to boost nonprofit member engagement!

Why Recurring Donor Engagement Matters

If you’re in the nonprofit world, you probably already know that memberships and recurring donations can drive significant ROI. If you want to maximize those benefits, it’s vital to make sure you’re actually retaining your supporters! The long-term relationships you build are what keep donations consistent and dependable.

If you want to bring in those steady donations, you have to put your energy into recurring donor engagement. You can’t just expect your members to stick around—you have to actively reach out to them! The intentional connections you build with your members and recurring donors keep them invested in supporting your nonprofit.

Here are six tips to give you an edge as you start developing new ways to engage members and donors:

1. Make them feel truly involved

Your members and recurring donors don’t just want to watch your nonprofit from the sidelines—they want to get involved with your mission. It feels good to offer financial support, but it feels even better to take that participation a step further. A few good ways to invite them in include:

  • Member-exclusive newsletters and updates
  • Quarterly meetings
  • Panel discussions
  • Invitations to special events

Keeping your members and recurring donors engaged through these opportunities is a great way to boost retention!

2. Offer unique perks and opportunities

Everyone’s seen the typical member perks: t-shirts, mugs, discounted tickets, etc. These things can be fun, but they don’t ultimately drive the above-and-beyond engagement you’re looking for.

Take some time to get creative with the perks and opportunities you offer your members and recurring donors. What will truly stand out and excite them? You could try:

  • Unique volunteer opportunities
  • Monthly treat boxes
  • Special messages from constituents
  • Social media ambassador roles

Keep your perks valuable, relevant, and directly tied to your organization. You want your members and recurring donors to feel excited about what you’re offering.

3. Ask for member and recurring donor input

Instead of guessing what your members and recurring donors are thinking, directly ask them for their input! This strategy shows them that you care about their opinions, and value their involvement. That sense of participation could be what gets your members interested in becoming recurring donors.

The information they give you is also very useful in shaping your organization moving forward! Sending out regular surveys can help you learn:

  • Supporters’ thoughts on your campaigns
  • The issues they’d most like to see your mission address
  • New ideas they have to engage the community

This input can also help you identify individuals to recruit for volunteer efforts. If someone is already passionate enough to share their thoughts, then it’s likely they could be interested in taking their support a step further! Just be sure to actively update and clean this data over time to maximize its usefulness.

4. Host private member events

Events are a great way to build community around your nonprofit. When they’re well-executed, they serve as valuable experiences that show your appreciation for your members and recurring donors. Some ideas for these exclusive events include:

  • Small gatherings
  • Screenings
  • Discussions
  • Cocktail hours
  • Networking events
  • Tours of your facilities

Don’t underestimate the value of holding VIP-style virtual events as well! A virtual setup can connect you with the members and donors who can’t join you in person. These events are also usually much cheaper and quicker to plan in a pinch.

5. Create structured giving tiers

One way to structure your recurring donor engagement is by setting up membership tiers with unique packages. Each of your tiers should have perks and events that reflect the tier’s value. If your members find themselves able to give more in the future, they’ll already be aware of what they have to gain.

Be thoughtful about your tiers! You want to encourage people to give generously without being unreasonable or devaluing any of the options available. The added benefits and sense of impact at each level should make people proud of what they’re already giving, but also eager to eventually raise their donations.

Finally, remember to make things easy. With the help of a monthly giving program, your members and donors won’t have to worry about remembering to make their payments. They can simply enjoy their perks!

6. Actively steward and grow your relationships

One of the simplest ways to boost nonprofit member engagement is by really getting to know the people who are supporting you. Recurring donors and members make up a unique and valuable pool. It’s worth studying their engagement and giving habits the same way you would for mid-level and major donors.

With this information, you can develop your strategy for growing their support over time. This could mean receiving higher donations or even getting more volunteer support. Active relationship-building goes a long way!

Plus, if your members and recurring donors feel satisfied, they’re more likely to spread the word about your nonprofit. This makes for an organic and low-effort way for you to increase membership.

Keeping Your Members and Recurring Donors Happy

Your members and recurring donors make up a group of people who truly believe in your mission. By encouraging their involvement, inviting their feedback, and showing gratitude for their support, you can boost your member and recurring donor engagement!

Author: Kerry McCreadie
MemberClicks, Senior Content Marketing Manager

What matters most to membership organizations? As the Senior Content Marketing Manager for Personify’s Wild Apricot and MemberClicks products, this is the question always on Kerry’s mind. Their goal is to help nonprofits, associations, and clubs discover the solutions that solve their most frustrating pain points—while growing and retaining their member base. The CEO and Founder of their own nonprofit organization, Kerry is passionate about nonprofit and charitable work—especially in the arts.

Spread the word