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4 tips for turning supporters into subscription donors

May 18, 2021
Four nonprofit professionals sit together in chairs to discuss strategies for turning supporters into subscription donors.

If you’re not familiar with the term yet, a “subscription gift” is a donation that is made on a recurring basis. Essentially, the donor is subscribing to support your nonprofit organization and your beneficiaries, and receiving additional engagement opportunities in return.

Subscription giving is intended to create a special relationship between donors and nonprofits that’s exciting for everyone. Promoting subscription gifts rather than monthly gifts, for example, can lead to better donor relationships and longer retention.

If you can encourage a prospect to make their first donation a subscription gift rather than a one-time gift, they are more likely to support your organization for a longer period of time. This article will cover some tips you can use to incentivize supporters to become subscription donors. Let’s begin!

1. Segment your supporters.

Supporter segmentation is a management strategy that consists of identifying and grouping core demographics within your supporter base and tailoring your communication to those groups. By segmenting supporters, you can guarantee that your messaging will resonate with them, leading to more conversions.

When it comes to encouraging your supporters to become subscription donors, look through your CRM to determine which segments would be most interested. For example, segments who regularly attend fundraising events have shown dedication to your nonprofit and may be interested in subscription giving.

2. Integrate subscription giving in your one-time donation pages.

While subscription gifts should be promoted differently from one-time gifts, by integrating subscription giving in your one-time donation pages, you’ll be advertising it to supporters who are already interested in making a gift. In turn, this can increase the number of subscription donors for your nonprofit.

On your donation page, include a subscription giving button alongside your one-time giving button, so donors can find it easily. Furthermore, you can add both of these buttons to communications such as email newsletters so that interested supporters can make a gift with minimal fuss. You should also include a subscription giving option directly on your donation form so that donors have plenty of opportunities to become subscription donors should they be interested.

3. Make becoming a subscriber exciting!

How you choose to promote subscription giving is completely up to you, and different nonprofits will take different approaches. You might decide to brand your subscription giving group by coming up with a name for the group and a unique visual identity. That way, your communications will have a consistent look and feel that helps to keep donors engaged.

Within these communications, highlight the benefits that supporters will receive by becoming a subscription donor. These can take the form of exclusive communications, stewardship gifts, discounted event tickets, and specific stories about your nonprofit’s beneficiaries.

You can also explain the impact that subscription giving makes on your nonprofit—talk about how it strengthens your relationship with your supporters and provide some tangible examples of what a donation does for your beneficiaries. For example, you might say that $5 allows you to deliver food to a family of four.

Whatever you decide, make sure that your contacts know that you’re asking them to actively subscribe to be a part of something and that they are joining other kind, caring individuals when they do so.

4. Make subscription donors feel welcome.

Prepare a thank-you email or direct mail template and have it ready to go as soon as supporters make their first subscription gift. Consider creating a welcome kit as well so subscription donors feel as though they have joined something special. Your kit can include merchandise, gifts, and a welcome letter.

Reach out to your subscription donors at least once a month and personalize your outreach so that they feel valued by your nonprofit. For example, you can address all your communications to the donor’s first and last name and acknowledge that they are a subscription donor.

The benefits of subscription donors

Having subscription donors is extremely beneficial for nonprofits, as they lead to longer-term relationships, more reliable donations, and more engaged donors. That’s why it’s so important to focus on turning supporters into subscription donors by making subscription giving appealing to your audience. With these four tips in mind, you can begin stewarding your subscription donors and maintaining meaningful support for years to come.

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    Donor Engagement
  • Nonprofits
  • Digital communications & marketing