Skip to content
We are now Bonterra

The 6 reasons your monthly donors’ support can lapse

March 24, 2022
These volunteers are sorting donations made to a nonprofit organization by regular donors.

Recurring donors are the backbone of your nonprofit organization. They believe in your cause, are easier to retain year-over-year, and help your organization to do more to achieve its purpose.

Of course, monthly donors can still lapse like any other donor. To learn why this happens and what your nonprofit can do to prevent it, take a look at these common reasons monthly donors give for why they cancel their gifts. 

The 6 reasons monthly donors cancel

“I would stop giving if I could no longer afford to give.”

Just like your nonprofit, donors face their own budgetary concerns and setbacks from time to time. In uncertain economic times, be proactive about sharing ways donors can continue to give without impacting their finances. 

For example, you might suggest supporters explore matching gift opportunities to increase donations without increasing spending. Or, if a supporter can’t afford to give this month, suggest they volunteer instead. That way, they’ll stay in your nonprofit’s system and can easily resume giving when they’re able to. 

“I feel like I’ve donated enough.”

Donors can feel like they’ve given enough to a nonprofit for a variety of reasons. For example, they may become more interested in other causes or feel like your nonprofit has fulfilled its purpose. 

While some donors may be ready to move on, you can retain other monthly supporters by making efforts to keep them engaged. Provide regular updates on your nonprofit’s activities to demonstrate that you’re making progress but still need support to continue fulfilling your purpose. 

You can also provide opportunities to change up how donors give. For example, you might invite a monthly donor to an event or to sign up for an online class, where they can make a contribution by buying a ticket. 

“I have no idea how the gift is being used or if my gift really matters.”

Monthly donors make an investment in your nonprofit, and you should show them that investment is worth it by demonstrating impact. 

Keep in touch with monthly donors, and share how you’ve used their gifts to make a difference. This might be sharing compelling statistics about your cause or an emotional story from a beneficiary. Also, make sure to send your annual reports to monthly donors to clearly show them where their donations went for that year.

“The organization is providing me with unrequested information about the programs I’m supporting.”

Under-communicating and over-communicating are both challenges nonprofits face. Assess your communication cadence and how many of your messages supporters usually engage with. If you’re emailing every day a week and notice a significant drop-off in responses after the first email, you can likely cut your communication back to just one update.

Additionally, segment your donors based on the initiatives they’ve given to. Then, only send donors information about the programs that are relevant to them. Also, if supporters are happy to only donate and not subscribe to your email list, make it easy for them to unsubscribe while continuing their giving. 

“I feel like the nonprofit does not understand the reasons why I made the gift in the first place.”

The more you know about your donors, the better you can connect with them. The easiest way to learn more about your donors and the reasons for their gifts is by asking them. 

Send out donor surveys that ask donors questions about:

  • The programs they’re interested in supporting
  • Thoughts on events they’ve attended in the past
  • Engagement opportunities they’d like to see your nonprofit offer
  • How they discovered your nonprofit
  • Their motivations for donating

“I stopped giving for another reason.”

Monthly donors stop giving for a number of reasons. If you aren’t sure what caused a donor to lapse, reach out to them. 

Your re-engagement messages should present donors with new ways to get involved, express the urgency of your cause, and thank them for the support they’ve already shown. In these messages, avoid asking for another donation. Focus first on getting them involved again with your organization in small ways, then ask for another donation when their support is reconfirmed. 

Convince your monthly donors to stick around long-term

Your monthly donors bring in reliable revenue, and you can form long-term relationships with them by making getting involved easy, demonstrating that their gifts matter, and adjusting your communication strategy based on their preferences. 

    Donor Engagement
  • Nonprofits
  • Digital communications & marketing
  • Fundraising ideas